While older viewers were perfectly content to watch CBS' broadcast of the latest Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, younger viewers went scurrying to NBC, leading to a Tuesday night split.
In the key 18-49 demographic, NBC averaged a 2.3 rating, nipping the 2.1 rating for CBS. FOX's 1.8 rating and the 1.5 rating for ABC followed. The CW was fifth with a 0.4 rating.
Overall, though, CBS averaged just under 11.5 million viewers and dominated the night with a 7.1/12. NBC was second with a 5.2/9, with FOX in a distant third with a 3.4/6. ABC's 2.6/4 was fourth, beating the 0.8/1 for The CW.
CBS swept the primetime hours overall, starting at 8 p.m. with an 8.1/13 for "NCIS," making it the night's top program. NBC's "Law & Order" and FOX's "House" tied for second with a 3.7/6. ABC took third with a 3.2/5 for New Year's specials featuring Charlie Brown and Rudolph. The CW's "90210" was fifth.
The first hour of the Kennedy Center Honors had a 6.4/10 for CBS, nipping the 6.2/10 for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." The NBC procedural comfortable won the hour in the 18-49 demographic. FOX's "Fringe" took third with a 3.1/7, topping ABC's Rudolph special and "According to Jim." The CW's "Privileged" had a 0.7/1 for fifth.
CBS closed things out in first with a 6.8/10 for the Kennedy Center tribute. A second hour of "Law & Order: SVU" held stable in second for NBC. ABC, meanwhile, snuck an original episode of "Eli Stone" onto its schedule for a 2.4/4 reward.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.