The LSU-Alabama matchup gave CBS its biggest college football audience in 22 years, helping the network clobber its rivals in the weekly television ratings.
Twenty million people watched LSU's 9-6 overtime victory on Saturday, the Nielsen Co. said. Not since a 1989 game between Notre Dame and Miami had CBS drawn so many people for a college football game. It brought a huge audience to CBS on a night where television viewing is usually light.
It also illustrated how matchups count: ABC's Saturday night game _ either Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest or Kansas State vs. Oklahoma State, depending on the market _ had 3.1 million viewers.
"The Big Bang Theory," "Blue Bloods," "Rules of Engagement" and "Survivor" had season highs in viewership for CBS last week.
The premiere of Brian Williams' newsmagazine, "Rock Center," had 4.1 million people on NBC last Monday, losing in its time slot to ABC's "Castle" (12.6 million) and CBS' "Hawaii Five-0" (10.6 million). Williams wasn't helped much by the show that preceded it, a two-hour "Sing Off," which had only 4.4 million viewers.
Take away Sunday night football programming and NBC continued to struggle for viewers. Its most-watched entertainment show, "Harry's Law," finished No. 48 for the week with 7.3 million viewers. CBS had 22 non-football shows with bigger audiences last week.
CBS averaged 13 million viewers in prime time last week (8.0 rating, 13 share). Fox was second with 8.2 million (4.9, 8) and ABC had 8.1 million (5.2, 8); ABC's rating was higher because more people watched the network alone. NBC was fourth with 7.2 million (4.5, 7), the CW had 1.7 million (1.1, 2) and ION Television had 1 million (0.7, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with an average of 3.3 million viewers (1.8, 3), Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 490,000 (0.3, 0), Estrella had 220,000 and Azteca 210,000 (both 0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.7 million viewers (5.8, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 7.6 million (5.2, 10) and the "CBS Evening News" had 6 million viewers (4.0, 8).
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For the week of Oct. 31-Nov. 6, the top shows, their networks and viewerships: Sunday Night Football: Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh, NBC, 22.12 million; College Football: LSU vs. Alabama, CBS, 20.01 million; "NCIS," CBS, 19.71 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 17.61 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 16.29 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 15.98 million; "The OT," Fox, 15.67 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 15.52 million; "Dancing With the Stars Results," ABC, 15.45 million; "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 13.9 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 Comcast Corp. 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.