Like Giants punter Steve Weatherford, FOX had reason to celebrate the NFC Championship Game on Sunday night.
Fast National ratings for Friday, January 22, 2012.
The NFC Championship Game that wouldn't end may not have given "American Idol" exactly the boost FOX was hoping for, but it still helped FOX draw nearly three times as many viewers as the other three networks combined, leading to an easy Sunday victory.
Because the Giants-Niners game went into overtime, only about 3 minutes of a special Sunday "Idol" actually aired in primetime in the Eastern and Central time zones, and FOX's head of scheduling suggested on Twitter
that they might rerun it, given how many people either didn't stay up late or didn't manage to DVR it. But the numbers for the game itself were huge.
For the night, FOX averaged an 18.7 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic, and a whopping 50.1 million viewers overall. Far off in the rearview mirror was ABC (2.0, 6.5 million), which was the only network to air its regular original programming last night. CBS (1.6, 7.2 million) went with repeats for half its schedule, while NBC (0.9, 4.6) devoted two hours to burning off the final episodes of "Prime Suspect."
7 p.m. -- The first hour of Giants-Niners averaged a 20.5 demo rating and nearly 56 million viewers overall. "60 Minutes" (1.5, 7.9 million) was a very distant second for CBS, followed by "America's Funniest Home Videos" (1.2, 5.2 million) on ABC and the first hour of "Dateline NBC" (0.9, 4.4 million).
8 p.m. -- More football, more dominance. For the hour, the Giants averaged an 18.0 and 48.9 million viewers. ABC's "Once Upon a Time" was second (3.2, 9.3 million), followed by CBS' "Undercover Boss" (2.2, 9.2 million) and more "Dateline NBC" (1.3, 6 million).
9 p.m. -- The game ticked up to a 19.3 demo rating and 51.1 million viewers overall. "Desperate Housewives" (2.6, 7.5 million) was in second for ABC, followed by a "Good Wife" repeat (1.1, 5.6 million) for CBS and the first "Prime Suspect" episode (0.8, 4.3 million) for NBC.
10 p.m. -- The end of the game, plus FOX's postgame coverage and a couple of minutes of "Idol" combined to average a 17.2 demo rating and 44.4 million viewers overall. A "CSI: Miami" repeat (1.4, 6.3 million) was second for CBS, followed by a new "Pan Am" (1.3, 3.9 million) for ABC and the "Prime Suspect" series finale (0.7, 3.6 million) for NBC.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.