I haven't received any of our regular data yet, so computing network averages and doing the show by show tables with all the demo information is delayed, but in the interest of getting at least a little info up on the site, I am posting now and will fill in the full details later.
Update 2: Hibberd has the time zone adjusted numbers for CBS (still preliminary overnight) The 16.4 million for The Mentalist was not a series high, but the 4.6 rating among 18-49 year olds was. The 40.6 million for the NFL AFC championship is down almost 25% from last year's prime-time NFC conference championship on FOX.
Update: due to the fact that it's a holiday -- something pretty much lost on me completely until I went to Peets' at 10:30pm and it was packed with soccer moms and their soccer playing progeny -- we won't likely see the data today and I'm not sure yet what impact, if any, the holiday will have on our weekly numbers. We'll see tomorrow.
As you would guess, the NFL AFC championship on CBS dominated the night. Please note that preliminary overnight numbers for live events are subject to change and that the numbers here have not been time zone adjusted. What's that mean? It means that the numbers for CBS, including the airing of The Mentalist following will change, perhaps noticeably so, in the final numbers. Plus, these numbers don't include the 6:30p-7p portion of the football game.
The Super Bowl will feature the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers. While I doubt any Super Bowl matchup that didn't feature an undefeated team would have a shot at matching last year's numbers, I think ratings will be relatively strong - certainly stronger than if the Baltimore Ravens had won (no offense, Ravens fans!). The Steelers are a good national draw for the NFL, and Arizona can be spun as a feel good story on many levels, plus there's the back story that the coach of the Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt (and his assistant head coach, Russ Grimm) were both with the Steelers and passed over for the head job there when Bill Cowher left in 2006. Payback!
I'll spare you another six paragraphs of Super Bowl analysis, but you can check out the historical ratings for the Super Bowl.
Ratings-wise these numbers, regardless of any adjustments seem significantly off last year's prime-time conference final. Last year the NFC/FOX had the prime time game and the New York Giants versus Green Bay Packers averaged 53.94 million (final numbers). Last night, only one half hour got over the 40 million mark, and then just barely at that.
And it doesn't look like the NFL was the only one having a tough night. Up against the NFL contest, Desperate Housewives averaged just 13.01 million with a 4.6/10 (rating/share) among 18-49 year olds.
Because The Mentalist only aired for about 15 minutes in prime time on the East Coast (from roughly 10:45p-11p) the adjusted numbers will change a lot, but the early indications don't look all that great with 15.06 million viewers and a 4.6/12 for the 10:30p-11p half hour.
While ABC did run its regular slate of programming the other networks (seemingly wisely so) got out of the way. FOX ran repeats and NBC aired two hours of Dateline followed by a rerun of the Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash.
Other than CBS, only ABC showed up on the radar really, but perhaps it wishes they'd have saved those episodes up for another night.
For those who just absolutely have to have it, can't stand to wait another day, etc, Marc Berman has the fast affiliate thirty minute detail available.
coming soon (hopefully!) some day
Shows are sorted by viewers in each time slot.
Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. Source Marc Berman/Mediaweek.
Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.
Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.
Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)
Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.
For more information see Numbers 101.