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ABC's Football Blowout Touches Down

The premieres of two marquee Fox shows were no match for ABC’s three-hour NFL season opener between New England and Oakland.

ABC averaged a huge 6.6 rating/18 share during prime time in advertisers’ prized 18-to-49-year-old demo, according to Nielsen fast national ratings for Sept. 8. (Fast national figures are time-period estimates that are subject to change when final results. Live broadcasts, such as ABC's football game, are particularly subject to revision.)

The Super Bowl Champion Patriots outlasted the spry Raiders at Gillette Field, 30-20.
Before the game, ABC broadcast an hour long kickoff show at 8 p.m. that notched an impressive 4.4/13. It included musical performances from the old school (the Rolling Stones, Ozzy Osbourne) and the new school (rockers Green Day, rapper Kanye West).

Any attention focused on West, whose off-script outburst on NBC’s live hurricane benefit special Sept. 2 was edited from a subsequent West Coast feed, proved unfounded. He concluded his performance ("The the victims of Katrina, I love ya.") The New Hampshire Union-Leaderreported Friday that the crowd in New England's Gillette Stadium booed when an image of West was displayed on a stadium monitor.

(In an ironic twist, it was the legendary bad-boy Stones who were censored. ABC quietly snipped a profanity from two different tunes, one old and one new.)

Fortunately for runner-up CBS (3.6/10) and third-place Fox (3.1/9), last night’s monster Monday Night Football will move back to its regular night—Monday, that is—starting next week.

CBS aired a new Big Brother (3.0/9), followed by reruns of the network’s Thursday warhorses, CSI (4.2/11) and Without a Trace (3.6/10).

On Fox, the O.C. kids notched a 3.3/10 in their season premiere at 8 p.m., followed at 9 p.m. by the debut of freshman series Reunion, which posted a 3.0/8.

NBC placed a distant fourth (2.0/5) coasting on the last gasps of summer reruns from Joey (2.0/6), Will &Grace (2.1/6), ER posted a 1.9/5, and fall schedule no-show Scrubs (1.9/5 at 9:00 and 2.1/5 at 9:30).

The WB and UPN tied for last place, with each averaging .7/2 for the night. The WB aired Smallville (.8/2) and Everwood (.6/2). UPN offered double shots of Eve (.8/3 at 8 p.m. and .8/2 at 8:30) and Cuts (.6/2 at 9 p.m. and .7/2 at 9:30).