'House' has super ratings week, too

CBS dominates in viewers, key demo

NEW YORK -- The Super Bowl wasn't the only program putting up big numbers in primetime last week. Fox's "House" hit an all-time ratings high Tuesday with an average of 27.3 million viewers and an 11.1 rating/27 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research.

"House" had a leg up from its 8 p.m. companion "American Idol" (33.7 million, 13.5/33), retaining an impressive percentage of its "Idol" lead-in.

ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" (24.2 million, 10.3/24) also had a big week, with a decisive victory over CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (21.5 million, 6.8/16) in the Thursday 8 p.m. slot. "Grey's" delivered its second-highest marks of the season behind only its season opener, and it posted its highest adults 18-34 numbers in a year, since it aired after the 2006 Super Bowl telecast.

Still, not even a turbo-charged "Grey's," two doses of "Idol" and a "House" on fire wasn't enough to prevent CBS from doing an end-zone victory dance for the week ending Feb. 4.

Sunday's telecast of Super Bowl XLI didn't disappoint. The big game, which ended in the Indianapolis Colts' 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears, averaged 93.2 million viewers and 35.2/70 in adults 18-49 from about 6:27-9:59 p.m. EST. Viewership peaked from 8:30-9 p.m. EST at 98.4 million viewers. CBS researchers estimate that about 139.77 million viewers watched at least some portion of the telecast.

Just as important to CBS, the game provided a showcase for its rising-star drama "Criminal Minds," now in its sophomore year. Starting at 10:26 p.m. EST, the hourlong episode brought in an average of 39.4 million viewers and a 10.0/25 in adults 18-49 -- a good if not great performance for post-Super Bowl entertainment programming. Naturally, with those kinds of numbers, CBS dominated the week by a few football fields, averaging 23.9 million viewers and an 8.2/21 in adults 18-49.

Fox came in second with 11.4 million viewers and a 4.6/11 in the key demo. NBC threw in the towel Sunday and ran programming with no commercials in the 8-9 p.m. hour opposite the second-to-last hour of the Super Bowl. The decision to go commercial-free allowed NBC to factor out the 8 p.m. hour (when the combined viewership of ABC and Fox came in at less than 9 million viewers and a whopping 2 share in adults 18-49) from its weekly averages, which undoubtedly went a long way toward NBC elbowing past ABC for third place for the week.

NBC finished with 8.2 million viewers and a 2.8/7 in the demo for the week compared with ABC's 7.4 million and 2.7/7. CW finished with 3 million viewers and a 1.5/4 in its target audience of adults 18-34.

Other highlights for the week included NBC's Monday 9 p.m. anchor "Heroes" (13.6 million, 6.1/14) and the peacock's 8-9 p.m. comedy combo "My Name Is Earl" (10.7 million, 4.5/12) and "The Office" (10.1 million, 5.0/13). Fox's high-octane Monday duo "Prison Break" (9.9 million, 4.1/11) and "24" (14 million, 5.4/12) gave the network bragging rights in adults 18-49 for what has become a highly competitive night this season among NBC, CBS and Fox.