It wasn't registering with viewers because of a ho-hum contest between mediocre teams--the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. The game averaged a Nielsen preliminary 3.2 rating/7 share, down over a point from its average. The week before, NBC earned a 5.2/13 for a New England-San Diego game. NBC ended the night in fourth place, averaging a 2.9/7 among 18-49 viewers.
Much of this could be attributed to another Tampa Bay sports team--the Tampa Bay Rays, who clinched their first-ever World Series berth in a win over the Boston Red Sox. The game earned 13.3 million viewers on cable network TBS, making it the highest-rated baseball game in cable history--beating out the previous record of ESPN in 1998 for a Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals game in which Mark McGwire tied the single-season home run record.
But CBS wasn't complaining about the NFL. A top-drawing New York Jets-Oakland Raiders game, which ran over from the afternoon into prime time, pulled in a big 6.9 rating/21 share for the 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. hour, and then a 5.0/14 in the 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. slot.
All that gave CBS a surprising tie with ABC for the top spot, with each earning a 3.7/9 among 18-49 viewers. ABC did beat CBS among younger viewers ages 18-34, with 3.0/8 to 2.5/7.
The best non-sports programming of the night was ABC's "Desperate Housewives" at a 5.7/13, down from a 5.9/14 the week before. Overall, ABC was down a bit from its 3.8/10 rating of a week ago on Sunday night.
Fox came in with a 3.2/8 among 18-49 viewers after ABC and CBS, and a 4.1/11 among 18-34 viewers--easily tops among all networks. Its "Family Guy" at 9 p.m. continued strong, coming in second to "Housewives" with a 4.7/10 among 18-49 viewers. It posted a 6.1/15, the best 18-34 numbers of any show on Sunday night.
Things continued south for Media Rights Capital and its group of shows running on the CW network. Last week, its trio of shows--"In Harm's Way," "Valentine" and "Easy Money"--averaged a 0.3 rating/1 share for the night. This week, their collective numbers averaged a 0.2/1.
Overall, average viewers also dropped for all three shows, with Media Rights Capital's best-watched series "Valentine" witnessing a drop to 718,000 average viewers from 1.02 million the week before.