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September 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Monday Night Football on ESPN was thrown for a loss this week as broadcast rivals Two and a Half Men on CBS and Dancing with the Stars on ABC combined with Comedy Central’s Charlie Sheen roast on cable to draw audiences away from the usual Monday-night powerhouse. That is not to say that ESPN’s season opener between the New York Giants and the St. Louis Rams tanked. In fact, it averaged a hefty (for cable) 11.9 million viewers, but that number is well below its average and was down more than 21 percent from the comparable game a year ago, which averaged 15.1 million viewers. However, Two and a Half Men recorded 28.7 million viewers, and 2 Broke Girls, which followed, pulled in 19.4 million in its debut, according to final Nielsen figures. On cable, the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen averaged 6.4 million viewers, the second-highest number ever to watch a Comedy Central show. (Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham holds the record, with a December 2008 special that drew 6.8 million viewers.)