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Football Rules Weekend Ratings

With a big boost from a dramatic NFC playoff game that went into overtime, Fox won Sunday night in all of the key ratings measurements.

The second half of the network’s prime time lineup included The Simpsons, Bernie Mac, Malcolm in the Middle and Arrested Development. Simpsons and Malcolm were repeats. The game peaked from 7:30 to 8 p.m. when over 39 million viewers tuned in and when the key adult demos reached between 16 and 17 ratings.

CBS was a distant second in households and viewers with 60 Minutes, Cold Case and the People’s Choice Awards. NBC was distant second in adults 18-49 and 25-54 with Dateline, AmericanDreams, and two episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the second a repeat.

ABC was fourth across the board with Funniest Home Videos, 10-8, Alias, ThePractice and The WB was fifth with Smallville: Beginnings, Charmed and the season premiere of Surreal Life, which averaged a 3.1 rating among adults 18-34.

For the night, the Nielsen fast affiliate total viewer averages: Fox, 21.9 million; CBS, 13.7 million; NBC, 11.1 million; ABC, 8.5 million; The WB, 4.4 million. Adults 18-49: Fox, 10.3 rating/24 share; NBC, 4.0/10; CBS, 3.6/9; ABC, 3.0/7; The WB, 2.1/5.

On Saturday, CBS got the big prime time playoff boost, averaging 21.3 million viewers for its coverage of the Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots AFC game. Fox was second with an NFC playoff overrun, Cops and America’s Most Wanted.

NBC punted with reruns of Average Joe, Law & Order and L&O: SVU, which gave the network a distant third place in the key adult demos, while ABC aired ice skating which finished third in households and viewers and fourth in the demos.

On Friday, ABC finished first among adults 18-49 with George Lopez, Married tothe Kellys, Hope & Faith, Life with Bonnie and 20/20. CBS was first in households and viewers (just ahead of NBC) with Joan of Arcadia, JAG, The Handler. NBC was second in the demos with Dateline, Ed and Third Watch. Ed, in its new Friday 9 p.m.-10 p.m. time period, was third across the key measurements behind CBS and ABC.

Fox was fourth with Totally Outrageous Behavior, World’s Craziest Videos and Boston Public. The WB was fifth with its Reba-anchored Friday comedy block.