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TELEVISION & RADIO | Prime-Time TV Rankings

ABC takes football and runs with it

January 11, 2006|Scott Collins

Record-breaking ratings for the Rose Bowl gave ABC its best prime-time week in three years and helped the network edge ahead of CBS -- at least temporarily -- among young adults this season.

Last Wednesday's Rose Bowl between USC and Texas was the most-watched college football game since at least 1991, with an average of 35.6 million viewers, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. The much-anticipated matchup for college football's national championship cruised past the No. 2 program for the week that ended Sunday, CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (27.2 million).

Football boosted ABC across the board. The network also drew strong results from Saturday's NFL wildcard game between Jacksonville and New England (22.6 million) and Tuesday's Orange Bowl (18.6 million).

Including sports, "Desperate Housewives" (23.7 million) and the return of last summer's sleeper hit "Dancing With the Stars" (17.5 million), ABC had seven of the 10 most-watched programs.

Overall, ABC averaged a robust 19.1 million viewers for the week, followed by CBS (13.1 million), NBC (9.2 million) and Fox (6.1 million). It was CBS' first weekly loss this season in the total-viewer category.

ABC's numbers were high enough to pull ahead of CBS in their neck-and-neck race to be No. 1 this season among adults aged 18 to 49, the demographic most important to advertisers. NBC and Fox remain locked in a battle to avoid fourth place.

ABC's statistical advantage in that category, however, is only one-tenth of a rating point -- an infinitesimal amount that promises executives at both networks some sleepless nights in the days ahead.

On basic cable, the most-watched program was Nickelodeon's movie "Drake & Josh Go Hollywood" on Friday (5.4 million viewers).

Scott Collins

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Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Jan. 2-8) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are 277.93 million potential viewers in the U.S. age 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

*--* Program Network Viewers 1 "Rose Bowl" ABC 35.63 2 CSI (9 p.m.) CBS 27.23 3 "Rose Bowl Pre-Game" ABC 24.54 4 Desperate Housewives ABC 23.72 5 "NFL Playoff Game: Jacksonville-New England" ABC 22.55

6 "NFL Post-Game" (Sun.) CBS 22.30 7 "NFL Showcase" (Sat.) ABC 22.01 8 Without a Trace CBS 20.93 9 "Fiesta Bowl" ABC 20.60 10 "Orange Bowl" ABC 18.56

11 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ABC 17.54 12 60 Minutes CBS 17.50 13 Dancing With the Stars ABC 17.46 14 Grey's Anatomy ABC 16.30 15 Cold Case CBS 15.95

16 Law & Order: SVU NBC 15.22 17 CSI (8 p.m.) CBS 14.55 18 ER NBC 13.97 19 Numb3rs CBS 13.93 CSI: Miami (Mon.) CBS 13.93

21 Two and a Half Men CBS 13.71 22 "Sugar Bowl" ABC 13.59 23 "Orange Bowl Pre-Game" ABC 13.10 24 NCIS (9 p.m.) CBS 13.03 25 "Dancing With the Stars Results" ABC 12.88

26 Medium (Mon.) NBC 12.16 27 Crossing Jordan (Sun.) NBC 12.03 28 NCIS (8 p.m.) CBS 11.99 29 Criminal Minds CBS 11.91 30 CSI: NY (Wed.) CBS 11.62

31 Las Vegas NBC 11.51 32 Close to Home CBS 11.47 33 Ghost Whisperer CBS 11.31 34 CSI: NY (Sun.) CBS 11.27 35 My Name Is Earl NBC 11.19

36 Law & Order: Criminal Intent NBC 10.79 37 Out of Practice CBS 10.47 38 Law & Order NBC 10.32 39 The Simpsons (8 p.m.) FOX 10.11 40 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 10.10

41 King of Queens CBS 9.87 42 CSI: Miami (Sun.) CBS 9.67 43 How I Met Your Mother CBS 9.56 44 In Justice ABC 9.20 45 20/20 ABC 9.16

46 Book of Daniel NBC 9.02 47 Four Kings NBC 8.86 48 Primetime ABC 8.83 49 Office NBC 8.73 50 48 Hours Mystery (Tue.) CBS 8.56

51 Biggest Loser: Special Edition NBC 8.53 52 Surface NBC 8.46 53 House FOX 8.44 54 Hope and Faith ABC 8.32 55 Fear Factor NBC 8.22

56 Family Guy FOX 8.10 57 Dateline: NBC (Sun.) NBC 8.06 58 Will & Grace NBC 7.95 59 Scrubs (9:30 p.m.) NBC 7.84 60 Scrubs (9 p.m.) NBC 7.69

61 48 Hours Mystery (Sun.) CBS 7.53 62 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 7.51 63 The West Wing NBC 7.40 64 Most Outrageous Moments on Live TV NBC 7.39 65 War at Home FOX 7.35

66 The Simpsons (7:30 p.m.) FOX 7.12 67 House FOX 7.07 68 Yes, Dear CBS 6.91 69 American Dad FOX 6.89 70 America's Most Wanted FOX 6.74

71 Still Standing CBS 6.51 72 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 6.48 73 Bones FOX 6.39 74 "Enough" CBS 5.99 75 Nanny 911 FOX 5.62

76 Cops (8 p.m.) FOX 5.54 77 Trading Spouses FOX 5.47 78 That '70s Show FOX 5.19 79 "The Hot Chick" FOX 5.05 80 Alborada (Mon.) UNI 5.03

81 WWE Smackdown! UPN 5.01 82 Contra Viento y Marea (Mon.) UNI 4.93 83 Alborada (Thu.) UNI 4.92 84 Contra Viento y Marea (Thu.) UNI 4.88 85 The Simpsons (7 p.m.) FOX 4.87

86 Alborada (Fri.) UNI 4.85 Contra Viento y Marea (Wed.) UNI 4.85 88 Piel de Otono (Wed.) UNI 4.70 89 Alborada (Wed.) UNI 4.61 90 Piel de Otono (Mon.) UNI 4.54

91 Contra Viento y Marea (Tue.) UNI 4.52 92 Alborada (Tue.) UNI 4.49 93 Crossing Jordan (Sat.) NBC 4.47 94 Medium (Sat.) NBC 4.46 95 Piel de Otono (Fri.) UNI 4.36

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