Update: The BCS Championship averaged 26.76 million between 8:20pm-11:49pm. The numbers for Fox are still preliminary numbers, but timezone adjusted. None of the other networks was time zone adjusted, but none of the other networks were running a live event.

While not the 45-42 shootout everyone seemed to think last night’s BCS National Championship game would be, the Florida Gators defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14, averaging 26.76 million between 8:20pm-11:49pm EST. Though it turned into more of a defensive struggle at times, it was an entertaining game.

If the final numbers don’t vary much (and since the numbers for the game are timezone adjusted for the portion of the game) they might not change a lot, it would be more viewers than last year’s game, but less than two years ago when Florida beat Ohio State, and well less than three years ago when Texas beat USC. You can review all the past data going back to 1991.

Seeing Tim Tebow, with “John 3:16” taped under his eyes be unsportsmanlike by giving the “Gator chop” to one of the defensive backs from Oklahoma (perhaps the one who said Tebow would be no better than the fourth best quarterback in the Big 12) was completely righteous. I’m not condoning the unsportsmanlike behavior, but I understand. Even more righteous still, Urban Meyer getting the Gatorade shower. The best thing to come out of the University of Florida isn’t Tim Tebow, it’s Gatorade, originally invented for and by the Florida Gators. The Gatorade shower is overplayed now, but for the Gator’s coach after winning the national championship it seemed very fitting.

Despite the game, NBC (except for The Office) and ABC aired new episodes against the game. CBS ran repeats, which probably was a good move. While Grey’s Anatomy (and to a lesser degree Private Practice) held up OK in the demos, they were overshadowed by the football game. Meanwhile, coming out of a repeat of The Office, 30 Rock had numbers that evoke memories of last year and ER was down as well.

Full details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share 18-34 Rating/Share
8:00 FOX BCS Championship Game 24.17 8.3/22 7.3/21
CBS CSI: NY (R) 8.59 2.0/5 1.2/4
ABC Ugly Betty 7.51 2.4/6 2.2/6
NBC My Name is Earl 5.50 2.0/6 1.6/5
UNI Cuidado con el Angel 4.28 1.7/4 1.8/5
CW Smallville (R) 2.30 0.9/2 0.8/2
8:30 NBC Kath & Kim 4.15 1.7/4 1.5/4
9:00 FOX BCS Championship Game 24.55 8.6/20 7.7/20
ABC Grey’s Anatomy 13.71 5.2/12 5.2/14
CBS CSI (R) 10.98 2.7/6 1.5/4
NBC The Office (R) 4.68 2.0/5 2.1/6
UNI Fuego en la Sangre 4.73 1.9/4 2.1/5
CW Supernatural (R) 1.87 0.8/2 0.7/2
9:30 NBC 30 Rock 5.24 2.3/5 2.3/6
10:00 ABC Private Practice 9.03 3.4/8 3.3/9
CBS Eleventh Hour(R) 7.70 1.9/5 1.1/3
NBC ER 7.32 2.6/7 2.1/6
UNI Rosa de Guadalupe 3.29 1.2/3 1.3/4

Shows are sorted by viewers in each time slot.

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


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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