NFC playoff pushes Fox to Sunday win


NEW YORK -- With a big boost from an NFC playoff game between Philadelphia and New York, Fox pushed its way to a Sunday night win in both key measures overshadowing the return of ABC's dramas and premieres of NBC's post-football lineup even though ABC won at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. by a handy margin.

Fox got the night started early with 27.8 million viewers between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. for the tail end of the Philadelphia Eagles-New York Giants playoff game, according to preliminary data released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. That didn't leave room for much else, either a "Grease"-themed "Deal or No Deal" (10 million, 2.8 rating/7 share in adults 18-49) on NBC, ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" (8.2 million, 2.4/6); or CBS's "60 Minutes" (9.9 million, 1.9/5).

"The Simpsons" (13.9 million, 6.2/14) overshadowed everything else between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., although 8:30 p.m.'s "American Dad" (9.8 million, 4.7/10) wasn't able to keep up the momentum. ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (13.4 million, 5.1/11) handily beat NBC's 90-minute premiere of "Grease: You're The One That I Want" (11.6 million, 4.3/10) as well as a repeat "Cold Case" (11.8 million, 2.5/6) on CBS.

ABC continued its roll with a new "Desperate Housewives" (18.6 million, 7.3/16), the first in weeks, which easily rolled over the premiere of "The Apprentice: Los Angeles" (9.1 million, 4.0/10) and a new "Cold Case" (14.1 million, 3.5/8). Fox's "Family Guy" episodes were both repeat that averaged 4.6/10 in the adults 18-49 demo (ahead of both "Grease" and "Cold Case."

While it's not likely to replace "Sunday Night Football" in the ratings, "Grease" built slightly in the demo from a 4.2/10 at 8 p.m. to a 4.5/10 at 9 p.m. although it stayed steady in total viewers. The 90-minute "Apprentice: Los Angeles" premiere also stayed relatively flat in viewers but rose from a 3.6/8 at 9:30 p.m. -- below "Grease" -- to a 4.4/11 at 10:30 p.m.

ABC and CBS split the 10 p.m. hour, with "Brothers & Sisters" (12.1 million, 4.6/11) winning in the demo and "Without a Trace" (14.2 million, 3.7/9) winning viewership leaving "Apprentice" in the dust.

Nightly averages: ABC (13.1 million, 4.8/11); CBS (12.5 million, 2.9/7); NBC (10.3 million, 3.8/8); Fox (16.2 million, 7.0/16); and The CW (2.3 million, 0.9/2).