'Family Guy' Trumps Football, PBS Wins The 'War'

Sunday night turned into the big night for young men and TV--but before you blurt out "football game," think "Family Guy."

Against NBC's "Sunday Night Football"--and a strong match-up featuring the Dallas Cowboys-Chicago Bears--Fox's "Family Guy" earned a surprising best rating since returning to the network over two-and-a-half years ago: a preliminary 5.5 rating/13 share among 18-49 viewers.

Fox's other stable comedy, the long-running "Simpsons," garnered a 4.7/12--its best score since January. Still, "The Simpsons" was down versus last year's premiere of a 5.3 rating.

Earlier in the evening, Fox grabbed a 5.0 rating from its afternoon NFL football game overrun. For its own part, NBC took the night--leading 7.0/17 for "Sunday Night Football" and 16.9 million viewers.

Not to be outdone, PBS was also competing for male viewers' attention. The network's "The War," from TV documentarians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, posted some 15.5 million viewers between 8 p.m. ad 10:30 p.m. for the World War II documentary.



The biggest misstep of the night was with CBS. The network's "Cold Case" at 9 p.m. sank to a 3.0 from its 4.1 premiere last season. At 10 p.m., "Shark" took over the time slot for "Without a Trace" and was promptly eaten up a bit--pulling a 2.7, down a big-time 44% from "Trace's" 4.8 rating premiere in 2006.

NBC won the night among viewers 18-49 with a 5.8 rating/15 share. Fox was a little bit behind at a 4.9/13, CBS was third at 2.4/6, ABC--with no new programming--was just behind a tick at 2.3/6, and Univision came in fifth at 1.1/3.

In the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. hour, CW's two new magazine shows--"CD Now" and "Online Nation"--took it on the chin in their premieres. "CW Now" saw a minuscule 0.2/1 in 18-49 and 1.0 million viewers overall, and "Online Nation" did virtually the same--a 0.3/1 in 18-49, and 1.0 million viewers overall.

Repeats of "Gossip Girl" (0.4 rating) and "America's Next Top Model" (0.8 rating) helped CW save the night, averaging a 0.5 rating/1 share.

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