Big Blue was red-hot for Fox on Sunday night, as the network’s coverage of the Giants-49ers game — based on very preliminary, sure-to-be-adjusted but nonetheless fun-to-look-at numbers — is poised to average well north of 50 million total viewers, while scoring perhaps a 20 demo rating.
UPDATE: Per final numbers, Giants-49ers drew 57.6 million viewers to rank as the third most-watched Conference Championship Game ever, after the 1982 Cowboys-49ers NFC Championship Game (68.7 million) and 2010’s overtime Vikings-Saints NFC Championship (57.9 million).
Viewership for the NFC Championship game started off exceptionally strong, ebbed a bit once primetime arrived, and then surged during OT. Opposite football, CBS’ Undercover Boss (9.2 mil/2.2) was dealt the biggest blow, dropping 21 and 27 percent, respectively, week-to-week.
ABC’s scripted line-up, meanwhile, held surprisingly strong. Both Once Upon a Time (with 9.3 million total viewers and a 3.2 rating) and Desperate Housewives (7.46 mil/2.6) dipped just a few percentage points, while Pan Am (3.86 mil/1.2) grabbed a handful of extra eyeballs and inched up a tenth in the demo.
Following football at the wee hour of 11 pm, Part 3 of American Idol‘s Season 11 premiere drew 19.8 million viewers and a 7.9 rating, up 10 and 40 percent from Part 2. (For those of you who are not night owls, Fox will repeat Sunday’s Idol hour on Tuesday at 8/7c.)
One final note for the night: NBC’s burn-off of Prime Suspect‘s final two episodes averaged nearly 4 million total viewers and a 0.8 rating, down 10 and 20 percent from the cop drama’s most recent, Thursday outing.