ABC rang in the new year with robust ratings, crushing its rivals during four hours that covered both prime time and late night.
With its prime-time lineup Saturday night, ABC finished a strong first with a total viewership averaging 9.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen Co. figures released Wednesday. That beat ABC's combined competition (CBS, Fox and NBC) by 3.3 million viewers.
The "Dick Clark's Prime-time New Year's Rockin' Eve" hour ranked fifth for the week among all prime-time programing, Nielsen said. Airing before it, the two-hour "New Year's Rockin' Eve" ranked 14th for the week.
Then, straddling midnight _ with the arrival of 2012_ in the East, "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2012" averaged a huge 22.6 million viewers.
Leading the pack in prime time for the week was NBC's broadcast of Sunday Night Football with the Dallas Cowboys pitted against the New York Giants. It was not only the most-watched show of the week, but also the most-watched NFL regular-season prime-time game ever broadcast on NBC, and the most-watched NFL regular-season prime-time game aired by any network in 15 years.
For the week in prime time overall, CBS averaged 8.2 million viewers (5.1 rating, 9 share). NBC was second with 6.3 million viewers (3.8 rating, 7 share). ABC had 4.7 million viewers (2.8 rating, 5 share), Fox had 2.9 million (1.8 rating, 3 share), Ion Television had 1.2 million (0.8 rating, 1 share), and the CW had 900,000 (0.6 rating, 1 share).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.5 million viewers (1.6 rating, 3 share), Telemundo had 1.3 million (0.7 rating, 1 share), TeleFutura had 540,000 (0.3 rating, 0 share), Estrella had 220,000 viewers (0.1 rating, 0 share), and Azteca had 140,000 (also 0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.7 million viewers (5.6 rating, 11 share). ABC's "World News" was second with 8.0 million viewers (5.1 rating, 10 share), and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.2 million viewers (4.0 rating, 8 share).
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 Dec. 26-Jan. 1, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Dallas at New York Giants, NBC, 27.62 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 21.23 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 14.45 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 14.44 million; "Dick Clark's Prime-time New Year's Rockin' Eve," ABC, 12.92 million; "NCIS," CBS, 12.58 million; "Criminal Minds," CBS, 10.60 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 10.16 million; "CSI," CBS, 9.74 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles" (Wednesday), CBS, 9.17 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 is a unit 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.