NBC gets a bounce

Football games power Peacock in quirky week

Thanks to a boost from primetime NFL games Thursday and Sunday, NBC took last week in primetime in viewership and adults 18-49. The period was marked by Hurricane Gustav and Republican National Convention coverage.

Fox — which premiered "Prison Break" and "Bones" and got a surprise with "Hole in the Wall" Sunday night — earned an honorable mention. But the biggest surprise went to the CW, whose premiere of "90210" was record-breaking and the second-season premiere of "Gossip Girl" was strong.

It was an odd week, with several hours — including much of the 10 p.m. slot Monday-Thursday — taken up by non-ad-supported hurricane or convention coverage. Plus, ABC, NBC and CBS all simulcast the "Stand Up to Cancer" telethon at 8 p.m. Friday, taking that hour from the ratings as well.

"90210" (4.6 million viewers, 2.6 rating/7 share in adults 18-49) on Tuesday was the highest-rated debut on the 3-year-old network. And "Gossip Girl" opened the week Monday with the sophomore drama's best ratings (3.4 million, 1.7/5), Nielsen Media Research said. It was up 6% compared with last year's premiere and up 10% in the CW's key 18-34 demo. That gave a 7% ratings boost to "One Tree Hill" (3.2 million, 1.7/4) when compared with last year's season premiere.

Things weren't as kind to Monday's "Prison Break" (6.5 million, 2.7/7), which edged NBC's "Deal or No Deal" (11 million, 2.6/7) for the 18-49 win at 8 p.m. But it was a series low and down from last year's season premiere.

NBC's "America's Toughest Jobs" (7.1 million, 2.4/6) fell compared with its premiere.

Fox won Wednesday with the return of "Bones" (9.7 million, 3.3/9), while the CW's ratings momentum didn't last with the return of "America's Next Top Model" (3.5 million, 1.7/5). NBC stayed competitive with "America's Got Talent" (10.2 million, 2.7/7), then overwhelmingly won Thursday with the Washington Redskins-New York Giants NFL opener (13.5 million, 5.4/17). The game began at 7 p.m. EDT in order to end before Sen. John McCain's acceptance speech at the RNC.

Sunday was NBC's as well with "Sunday Night Football" (18.3 million, 7.4/19). However, the Fox game show "Hole in the Wall" (7.1 million, 3.5/10) managed to become the week's top entertainment show, while CBS' "Big Brother" (7.2 million, 2.6/7) held up well .

For the week ending Sunday, NBC (9.4 million, 3.2/9) prevailed in adults 18-49, followed by Fox (7 million, 2.6/8), CBS (5.3 million, 1.5/4), the CW (3.1 million, 1.4/4) and ABC (4.1 million, 1.3/3). (partialdiff)