The Orange Bowl matchup between Cincinnati and Virginia Tech wasn't a ratings blockbuster, but it was enough to help FOX take the key demographic for 2009's first evening.
FOX averaged a 2.4 rating in the 18-49 demo to win the Thursday night, though CBS' 2.2 rating, ABC's 2.1 rating and the 2.0 rating for NBC were all very close behind. The CW's 0.7 rating trailed.
Overall, though, CBS averaged nearly 7.98 million viewers and a 4.8 rating/8 share to win the night. NBC was a close second with a 4./8, followed by FOX's 4.2 rating and the 4.1/7 for ABC. The CW's 1.1/2 was, as usual, last.
ABC actually began the night in first, as USC's dismantling of Penn State in the Rose Bowl, plus a little "America's Funniest Home Videos" averaged a 6.7/11 between them. NBC was second with a 5.1/8 for "Deal or No Deal." CBS' "Big Bang Theory" and "How I Met Your Mother" averaged a 4.0/6 to beat FOX's pre-game and the start of the Orange Bowl. The CW got a 1.3/2 from "Smallville."
The 9 p.m. hour went to NBC with a 6.0/8 for "Deal or No Deal." CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" was a close second, with FOX's college football taking third with a 5.2/8, roughly doubling ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" repeat. The CW's "Supernatural" had a 1.0/2 for the hour.
CBS' "Eleventh Hour" took the 10 p.m. hour with a 4.7/8 (FOX isn't credited for the hour with the end of the football game). ABC's "Private Practice" had a 2.8/5 to top two episodes of "The Office" on NBC.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.