Due to the nature of live sports programming the ratings for ABC (BCS Championship Game) are approximate and subject to significant revisions in the final numbers. See below for more information on these Fast Affiliate Ratings.

Texas, with a rookie quarterback, gave Alabama a better game than the mostly repeat broadcast competition gave the BCS Championship Game on Thursday night. ABC, and the Tide, rolled over the night, averaging a 9.5 adults 18-49 rating. Meanwhile, The Jay Leno Show ratings showed no sign of being boosted by all the hubbub surrounding the show yesterday, falling to a 1.4 rating, its lowest Thursday ever.
ABC’s BCS Championship game notched a preliminary (non-timezone adjusted) 10.2 adults 18-49 rating for the primetime portion from 830-11p.

Without the time-zone adjusted numbers for the BCS Championship Game (which should appear later today) it’s impossible to know for sure, but the primetime portion averaged about 30 million viewers, which would put it close to the second most viewed game in recent history (but nowhere close to the 35+ million that watched Texas/USC in 2006) . For reference, here are the TV ratings data on the college football national championship games in the recent past.

Updated Final Numbers for the BCS game:

ABC’s broadcast of the 2010 CITI BCS National Championship (8:32pm-12:14am) drew an average audience of 30.8 million viewers and earned a 10.5 rating, 28 share among Adults 18-49.  Alabama defeated Texas, 37-21, winning its first national title since 1992.

  • Versus Fox’s year-ago coverage of the BCS National Championship, the 2110 CITI BCS National Championship on ABC was up by 4.0 million viewers and by 11% in Adults 18-49 (2009 FEDEX BCS National Championship on 1/8/09).  In fact ABC’s broadcast was the most-watched yet for the designated BCS National Championship, topping Fox’s telecasts in 2009, 2008 and 2007.
  • ABC’s airing of the 2010 CITI BCS National Championship generated the biggest audience for any TV telecast in nearly 1 year – since ABC’s 2009 Academy Awards broadcast on 2/22/09.
Time Net Show 18-49 Rating 18-49 Share Viewers Live+SD (Millions)
8:00 ABC BCS Championship pre-game 6.4 18 21.005
CBS CSI (repeat) 2.0 5 9.506
FOX Bones (repeat) 1.8 5 6.202
NBC Community (repeat) 1.7 5 4.511
CW The Vampire Diaries (repeat) 0.7 2 1.930
8:30 ABC BCS Championship (Alabama v. Texas) 10.5 27 32.131
CBS CSI (repeat) 1.9 5 9.287
FOX Bones (repeat) 1.7 4 5.761
NBC Parks & Recreation (repeat) 1.3 3 3.211
CW The Vampire Diaries (repeat) 0.6 2 1.637
9:00 ABC BCS Championship (Alabama v. Texas) 11.0 27 33.437
CBS CSI (repeat) 2.2 5 10.417
NBC The Office (repeat) 1.7 4 3.926
FOX Fringe (repeat) 1.1 3 3.193
CW Supernatural (repeat) 0.6 1 1.561
9:30 ABC BCS Championship (Alabama v. Texas) 10.9 26 32.439
CBS CSI (repeat) 2.3 5 10.403
NBC 30 Rock (repeat) 1.7 4 3.767
FOX Fringe (repeat) 1.0 2 3.009
CW Supernatural (repeat) 0.6 1 1.494
10:00 ABC BCS Championship (Alabama v. Texas) 9.3 23 26.197
CBS The Mentalist (repeat) 2.3 6 11.243
NBC The Jay Leno Show 1.4 3 4.469
10:30 ABC BCS Championship (Alabama v. Texas) 9.1 23 25.775
CBS The Mentalist (repeat) 2.2 6 10.727
NBC The Jay Leno Show 1.4 4 4.696

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.


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.

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