Fast National ratings for Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, setting up a Super Bowl matchup against the Arizona Cardinals and leading CBS to a ratings rout.

CBS averaged a 12.0 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, nearly doubling the combined totals for ABC (3.0 rating), FOX (1.8), NBC (1.3) and The CW (0.4).

Overall, CBS averaged an estimated 33.7 million primetime viewers, plus an 18.6 rating/29 share. ABC was a distant third with a 5.9/9, followed by NBC's 3.4/5, FOX's 2.6/4 and the 0.7/1 for The CW. 

CBS' football coverage began the night with a 21.2/34 in the 7 p.m. hour. ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" took second, nipping the 3.8/6 for "Dateline NBC." Two episodes of FOX's "Hole in the Wall" averaged a 2.2/4, better than the 0.5/1 for "Jericho" on The CW.

At 8 p.m. CBS' football had a 19.9/30, besting the 5.1/8 for ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." NBC's "Dateline" stayed second and topped the 2.6/4 for two episodes of "The Simpsons" on FOX. The CW aired "Mr. Mom" and nobody cared.

This is getting monotonous, but CBS' football held stable in the 9 p.m. hour with a 19.8/29. ABC's "Desperate Housewives" was second with an 8.3/12. NBC's "Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash" was third with a 3.0/4, better than the 2.9/4 for FOX's animated comedies. The CW left the light on with "Mr. Mom."

In the 10 p.m. hour, CBS' "The Mentalist" did a 13.7/22, but those numbers were dramatically skewed by the football. The second hour of CBS' hit procedural actually under-drew the show's regular Tuesday audience. ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" had a 6.1/10, while NBC's "SNL" special trailed.

All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change, particularly in the case of live events.


A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.