At the holiday season's end, people returned to television for some football, some news and a few laughs.
Three of the four most-watched programs in prime-time television last week were on Sunday night, each distinctly different and on different networks: NBC's telecast of the NFL game between the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, the return of "Desperate Housewives" on ABC and "60 Minutes" on CBS.
An estimated 65 percent of the homes in the U.S. had TVs on at some point Sunday. That's the highest level since before Christmas, the Nielsen Co. said. Fewer than half of the TV homes were watching on New Year's Eve.
One of the more popular non-Sunday shows was CBS' telecast of the Kennedy Center Honors, which paid tribute to Bruce Springsteen and others.
CBS averaged 8.3 million prime-time viewers last week (5.2 rating, 9 share). Fox, boosted by Friday night's telecast of the Florida-Cincinnati Sugar Bowl, averaged 7.3 million (4.2, 7) and easily won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic many advertisers seek. ABC had 6.4 million (3.8, 6), NBC had 5.1 million (3.2, 6), ION Television had 1.2 million (0.8, 1) and the CW had 940,000 (0.6, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision had 3 million (1.5, 3), Telemundo and TeleFutura tied with 1.1 million (both 0.5, 1) and Azteca had 190,000 (0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.3 million viewers (5.9, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 8.7 million (5.7, 11) and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.6 million viewers (4.3, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,149,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.9 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Dec. 28-Jan. 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Cincinnati vs. New York Jets, NBC, 16.33 million; College Football: Florida vs. Cincinnati, 15.53 million; "Desperate Housewives," ABC, 15.35 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.84 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 14.16 million; "NCIS," CBS, 12.87 million; "Rose Bowl Post-Game," ABC, 11.91 million; "The OT," Fox, 11.51 million; "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 11.09 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 11.06 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by General Electric Co. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.
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