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February 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Scheduling the much-maligned Pro Bowl game (it’s generally regarded as a Hawaiian holiday gift to the players at the end of the season) before the Super Bowl instead of after has certainly paid off for the television networks that take turns carrying it. The 2010 and 2011 games each drew 12.3 million viewers. This year’s game, televised by NBC, drew 12.5 million, according to final figures from Nielsen Research. That made it the most-watched Pro Bowl game in 22 years, when ABC’s coverage attracted 13.2 million viewers. In 2009, the last year the game was televised after the Super Bowl, it averaged 8.8 million viewers. Nevertheless, the Pro Bowl drew only a fraction of the ratings for other post-season NFL games and was well below ratings even for the regular NFL schedule. As a result, last week was one of the few weeks of the 2011-12 season that football did not top the ratings chart when a game was scheduled. The result: Fox’s American Idol performed its annual interception, with its Wednesday night’s performance episode capturing 19.7 million viewers and its Thursday night’s results episode, 17.1 million. While remaining at Nos. 1 and 2 for the week, those figures represented the lowest ratings Idol has drawn since its infancy, and CBS’s The Big Bang Theory was hot on its heals with 16.1 million viewers. CBS’s NCIS, which was in rerun mode last week, is also in a position to overtake Idol. It ranked sixth last week with 12.5 million viewers but has been known to draw more than 20 million on occasion. Among the nightly newscasts, the lineup remained unchanged, with NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams remaining in front with 9.3 million viewers, ahead of ABC World News with Diane Sawyer with 8.2 million viewers and the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley with 6.7 million. Overall, CBS remained far ahead in total households and viewers with a 5.9 rating and a 10 share. Fox placed second with a 4.7/7. NBC and ABC virtually tied, with NBC posting a 3.8/6 and ABC a 3.6/6.

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

1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 11.1/17; 2. American Idol (Thursday), Fox, 10.0/16; 3. The Big Bang Theory, CBS, 9.7/15; 4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 9.0/15; 5. Criminal Minds, CBS, 8.7/13; 6. NCIS, CBS, 8.1/12; 7. Undercover Boss, CBS, 7.9/12; 8. AFC/NFC Pro Bowl, NBC, 7.3/11; 9. The Good Wife, CBS, 7.2/11; 10. 60 Minutes, CBS, 7.1/11; 10. Touch (Preview), Fox, 7.1/11.