Primetime Ratings: Da Bears Rule Sunday Night

Football Drives NBC to Top Spot

An exciting come-from-behind win by the team from the nation's No. 3 TV market, the Chicago Bears, helped to power NBC to a nightly win in the 18-49 demo Sunday night, according to Nielsen Media Research overnight numbers.

With TV-viewing patterns and ratings to reflect them changing dramatically, it's hard to draw hard-and-fast conclusions from overnights. Among the caveats are time-period averages that won't square exactly with the actual West Coast viewership to live events like a football game and the likelihood of digital-video recorders capturing other big-ticket programming during the game that won't be reflected until Nielsen's "live-plus-seven-day ratings" are released in a couple of weeks.

But with that advisory, NBC will unlikely be unseated from the top spot given its 5.6 rating/15 share for the game, which saw the unseating of one of the few remaining undefeated teams (the Green Bay Packers) and gave NBC a 1.2-rating-point lead over second-place ABC. NBC said the game’s household rating/share in Chicago was a 30.9/46.

ABC averaged a 6.6 rating/16 share for Desperate Housewives, which was second behind the football game's 6.8/16 from 9 p.m.-10 p.m. That was down from the 7.4/17 for its premiere the week before, which had easily beaten NBC's National Football League game even though it featured a division rivalry between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles.

ABC's Brothers & Sisters continued its solid start, holding onto two-thirds of its Housewives lead in for a 4.5/12 from 10 p.m.-11 p.m. It, too, was down from its 5.1/13 premiere the week before.

Fox was third at a 2.9/8 in the demo, led by Family Guy, Fox's strongest Sunday-night animated show of late, at a 4/9 from 9 p.m.-10 p.m.

CBS was fourth with a 2.9/8. Its top show was Cold Case at a 2.9/7.

The CW averaged a 0.4/1. A repeat of America's Next Top Model at a 0.5/1 outperformed the debut of Life Is Wild (0.4/1) in the 18-49 demo, or episodes of younger-skewing new shows CW Now (0.4/1) and Online Nation (0.3/1).