Tim Tebow Thriller Is Huge Ratings Winner: CBS Annihilates the Competition; Meanwhile, Good News/Bad News for ABC/NBC

Jan 9, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Tim Tebow’s first playoff game as quarterback of the Denver Broncos pulled in a massive viewing audience Sunday and spilled over into prime time, leading CBS to a huge win for the night, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

The Broncos’ overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled a 14.8 rating and 36 share in the 18-49 demo in fast affiliate ratings, with adjustments expected due to the nature of live sports programming. Total viewers came in at a whopping 41.89 million.

CBS reported that it was the highest-rated wild card game in 24 years in terms of average overnight household figures, with a 25.9 rating and 43 share — up 38% from last year’s Baltimore-Kansas City game. The network said the game peaked with a 31.6 household rating and 46 share.

In fast nationals, CBS owned the coveted 18-49 demo in prime time with a 7.1 average rating, well ahead of ABC (2.3 average), Fox (1.9) and NBC (1.3). Total viewers was a similar story, with CBS dominating with 22.6 million viewers for prime time, followed by ABC with 7.2 million, NBC with 6.3 million and Fox with 4.0 million.

There was some good news elsewhere on the dial as well, as ABC had a chance to celebrate a surge for “Once Upon a Time.” The series was up 28% from its previous original episode a month ago, with a 3.7 average rating in 18-49. “Desperate Housewives” was also up, rising 11% to a 3.0. But “Pan Am” continued its nosedive, down 13% to a series low 1.3 average.

In the bad news department, NBC’s two-hour premiere of “The Firm” gave the network reason to keep its expectations low, managing only a 1.4 average in 18-49.


  1. How come your TV Week E-mail headline reads “Tim Tebow Thriller Translates to Ratings Snoozer” when the story here says “Tim Tebow Thriller is Huge Ratings Winner”??? It’s obvious someone writing headlines is just a Tebow hater

  2. Hi Dan. As readers to my TVWeek Open Mic blog know, I’m on the Tebow bandwagon (https://www.tvweek.com/blogs/2011/12/finally-a-weekly-show-thats-as-much-as-an-adrenaline-rush-as-was-24-its-unscripted-and-god-is-the-st.php).
    What our headline writer who wrote that email headline meant is that the ratings for the Broncos-Steelers game were so good that the competition for ratings among all the shows on then was a snoozer. Yeah, didn’t really work, which is why we changed it on the story itself. But the email with that “snoozer” headline had already gone out.

    Chuck Ross

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