Russell Wilson, the former University of Wisconsin great who took the Badgers to the Big Ten Championship two years ago, led his Seattle Seahawks to victory (23-17) in the National Conference Championship game to advance to The Super Bowl. And FOX caught all the action. The game drew 55.9 million viewers and a huge 20.9 rating and a 51 share of the available audience. It peaked at 60.3 million. Sunday’s game ranks as the FOX’s highest-rated non-overtime NFC Championship Game since 1997 (30.1/58, Carolina-Green Bay), and is the most-watched non-overtime NFC Championship Game since 1995 (Dallas – San Francisco, 56.8 million viewers). Seattle led all markets with a huge 54.3/85, followed by San Francisco (47.5/78); Sacramento (46.7/72); Portland (39.5/63); and Milwaukee (38.9/57) to round out the top five. Following the game beginning at 1018P, the season premiere of ‘The Following’ drew 11.2 million viewers, due in large part to the huge following of the football game. Question is: will ‘The Following’ ever drew above 10 million viewers again?
CBS finished #2 for the evening. This was after it pulled in their biggest number for football in 27 years. Their telecast of the American Conference Championships which saw the Denver Bronco’s defeat the New England Patriots, 26-16, drew 51.3 million viewers and a remarkable 29.5 ratings and an amazing 52 share of available audience. At 6P, a rerun of ’60 Minutes’ aired and drew 7.83 million viewers. At 7P, a rerun out of position of ‘The Good Wife’ drew 4.41 million viewers while at 8P, an out of position rerun of ‘The Mentalist’ drew only 4.55 million viewers. At 10P, a rerun of ‘Criminal Minds’ drew 6.11 million viewers.
To clear the way for the big FOX programming of NFL Football conference championship in prime time, the other broadcast networks ran reruns throughout their schedules except ABC. The Alphabet Network decided to begin the evening at 7P with a rerun of ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ which finished with 4.42 million viewers but at 8P, ran a special ‘The Bachelor: Bachelor Love Stories’ which drew 3.91 million viewers. At 9P, ‘Betrayal’ had its series finale and it drew 3.51 million viewers. At 10P, ‘Revenge’ died with a series low of 3.36 million viewers.
NBC decided at 7P to air a rerun of ‘Dateline’ which drew 4.25 million viewers while at 8P ran the 2011 film, ‘Bridesmaids’ which drew 3.2 million viewers.
PBS brought out ‘Sherlock, Season 3’ on MASTERPIECE reached an average audience of 4 million viewers (Nielsen fast nationals, P2+). This represents a 25 percent increase in average audience compared to the premiere of “Sherlock, Season 2” in 2012. This audience is 81% higher than the PBS’ average audience at 10-11:30P on Sundays.
On cable, the biggest show of the evening was Bravo’s ‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ at 8P with 3.695 viewers. At rerun of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ at 10P on TBS drew 3.007 million viewers.
For the record, FOX drew 36.854 million viewers and a 20.9 rating with a 51 share of the available audience. CBS finished next with 5.725 million viewers and a 0.9/2. ABC was next with million 4.249 viewers and a 1.0/3. NBC drew 3.476 million viewers and a 1.0/2. Univision finished with 1.598 million viewers.
NEWS & NOTES:
USA for eight consecutive years was the most-watched network on cable. USA drama “Suits” returns on Thursday, March 6 at 9P, while newcomer, “Sirens”, will launch immediately following at 10P. For a preview of both, click on the following: http://tinyurl.com/kckrvhd.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC and CBS have both submitted bids to the NFL to air Thursday Night Football. NBC, and FOX, whose Thursday night lineups have struggled this season are also in the running, along with Turner Broadcasting. The NFL is offering a one year deal for a package of 6 to 8 Thursday night games.
Across The Pond:
BBC One began the evening at 7P with ‘Countryfile Winter’ which drew 7.05 million (29.5%), then ‘Call the Midwife’ easily won Sunday’s overnight ratings by scoring its highest-ever figures of 9.61 million (36.1%) at 8P, up from last year’s debut of 9.32 million viewers. At 9P, ‘The Musketeers’ debut was impressive as it drew 7.41 million viewers (28.9%).
However, BBC anchor Komla Dumor, a rising star of the World News network, died from a heart attack. Dumor, just 41 years old, anchored what would be his final newscast Friday night. Very active on Twitter and Facebook, Dumor was a presenter on the daily programs World News (airing at midnight ET) and Focus on Africa, a primetime program for African viewers broadcast worldwide.
ITV at 9P had ‘Mr Selfridge’ in its return and brought in 4.85 million viewers (18.9%). This is down almost 2 million from last year’s premiere episode.
BBC Two at 7P presented the ‘Masters Snooker’ final and drew 2.15 million (8.5%). At 915P, it was followed by a rerun of ‘Top Gear’ and 1.11 million (4.8%) watched.
Channel 4 at 8P had ‘Speed with Guy Martin’ and it was watched by 1.77 million (6.6%). At 9P, the documentary ‘Don’t Look Down’ was viewed by 1.47 million (5.7%).
Channel 5 broadcast ‘Legally Blonde’ at 7P and drew 1.2 6 million (5.0%). At 9P, ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ increased the audience to 2.34 million (9.1%).