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January 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Demonstrating yet again that a program televised on cable can rack up ratings that are every bit as dominating as anything offered by a broadcast network, ESPN’s coverage of the Alabama/LSU BCS national championship on Monday night topped everything broadcast by ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. According to Nielsen, the game drew 24.2 million viewers, making it the second-highest-rated telecast in cable history, exceeded only by last year’s BCS title contest which drew 27.3 million viewers. It also outdrew every program broadcast on network television last week, except for NBC’s telecast of the playoff game between Detroit and New Orleans on Saturday which averaged 31.8 million viewers. After football, the highest-rated show on broadcast television for the week was CBS’s NCIS, which recorded 19.8 million viewers and CBS’s 60 Minutes, with 18.1 million. Despite interest in the Iowa caucuses and the run-up to the Republican primary in New Hampshire last week, the nightly newscasts saw little increase in the number of viewers, week over week. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams counted 8.9 million viewers and was trailed by ABC World News with Diane Sawyer with 8 million viewers and the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley with 6.6 million. For the week CBS again led in total adults with a 7.6 rating and a 12 share. ABC placed second with a 5.5/9, followed by Fox with a 5.0/8 and NBC with a 4.6/8.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. NFL Playoff Game 2, NBC, 18.2/30; 2. NFL Playoff Pre-Kickoff, NBC, 14.8/26; 3. NCIS, CBS, 11.9/18; 4. 60 Minutes, CBS, 10.9/16; 5. NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS, 10.5/16; 6. Modern Family, ABC, 8.4/13; 7. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 8.3/12; 8. Grey’s Anatomy, ABC, 7.8/12; 9. Unforgettable, CBS, 7.6/12; 10. The Good Wife, CBS, 7.5/11.