CBS’s prime-time broadcast of the AFC Championship Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets was a ratings blockbuster, the highest-rated conference championship game since 1987, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.
With the usual disclaimer that the numbers could change significantly due to the nature of live programming, the story reported that CBS averaged a whopping 40.9 million total viewers for its prime-time lineup as a whole in Nielsen overnights, to a distant 5.3 million for Fox, 5.2 million for ABC and 3.6 million for NBC.
In the adults 18-49 demo, CBS averaged a 14.4 rating for the night, to Fox’s 2.4 average, ABC’s 1.3 and NBC’s anemic 0.8.
At 7 p.m. the game on CBS had an 18.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic, towering over ABC’s "America’s Funniest Home Videos" with a 1.4 and NBC’s "Dateline" with a 0.6, both in the same 18-49 demo.
At 8 p.m. the Jets-Steelers game averaged a 17.15 in the 18-49 demo for the hour, while Fox’s "The Simpsons" and "Bob’s Burgers" logged a 3.1 rating and a 2.2, respectively, in the 18-49 demo. ABC’s "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" had a 1.9 in the same demo for the hour. NBC’s broadcast of the movie "Sex and the City" had a 0.6 in the same demo for its first hour.
The 9 p.m. hour was won by the AFC Championship game with a 16.65 average rating in the 18-49 demo, compared with Fox’s "Cleveland Show," which had a 2.4 in the same demo for the bottom of the hour. The second hour of NBC’s movie earned a 0.85 in the 18-49 demo.
At 10 p.m. the end of the game and the beginning of CBS’s "Hawaii Five-0" averaged a 6.9 rating in the first half-hour and “Five-0” had a 4.6 in the bottom half in the 18-49 demo. The last of "Sex and the City" on NBC scored a 1.25 in the 18-49 demo.
As for Sunday’s earlier game, the NFC Championship game, no national numbers yet, but the local numbers in Chicago indicated that "Sunday’s game on Fox did better locally than the the Bears’ 2007 Super Bowl XLI loss to the Indianapolis Colts on WBBM-Ch. 2. That CBS broadcast attracted a 50.2 household rating in Chicago — which, at the time, represented around 1.75 million local homes — and a 77 percent share of the viewing audience,’ according to our friend Phil Rosenthal in the Chicago Tribune.
That article also said that "Half of the homes in the Chicago market, on average, were tuned to the Bears’ NFC championship loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, according to overnight figures from Nielsen Media Research. WFLD-Ch. 32’s telecast averaged a 50.6 household rating — which translates to more than 1.77 million Chicago-area homes — and 80.5 percent share of those watching TV while it was on."