Scoring the highest ratings for a non-Super Bowl NFL telecast in 28 years, Sunday's telecast of the NFC Championship Game between Minnesota and New Orleans easily beat everything else on television last week as it claimed 57.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen Research. Fox, which carried the game, also placed second, third, and fourth in the ratings with its two editions of American Idol and the post-game show following the NFC telecast. CBS, however, filled up the rest of the top-ten list. Coverage of the Haitian earthquake disaster boosted ratings for each of the evening newscasts, with NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams averaging 10.28 million viewers for the week. ABC World News with Diane Sawyer placed second with 8.51 million, while CBS Evening News with Katie Couric trailed with 6.54 million. Overall, Fox handily won the week with an average 13.3 rating and a 21 share, leaving the usual winner, CBS, in the dust with a 6.1/10. ABC placed third with a 4.1/7, while NBC suffered one of its worst weeks ever with a dismal 3.3/5.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research 1. Fox NFC Championship, Fox, 30.6/45; 2. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 14.6/23; 3. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 14.4/22; 4. Fox NFC Championship Post-game, Fox, 13.4/22; 5. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 9.6/14; 6. The Big Bang Theory , CBS, 8.7/13; 7. Criminal Minds , CBS, 9.0/14; 8. The Mentalist , CBS, 9.3/16; 9. Csi Crime Scene Investigation , CBS, 8.8/14; 10. NCIS , CBS, 9.0/14.