Fox won the ratings race Wednesday night on the broad backs and fleet feet of the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The network has a lineup of college bowl games that have spelled early ratings gold for the new year, with more expected Thursday night with the Orange Bowl matchup between Virginia Tech and Kansas.
West Virginia's 48-28 spanking of Oklahoma was good enough for a 4.1 rating/11 share in the key 18-49 demo for Fox. Overnight ratings are time-period averages, so they will likely change for the game once West Coast returns are in.
In second place on the night in the Nielsen Media Research overnights was ABC, which averaged a 3.7/9 in the demo with the premiere of Wife Swap from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. (3/6) and led by Supernanny, which averaged a 4/11 from 10 p.m.-11 p.m., including tying the football game in its last half-hour.
NBC was third with a 3.6/9, close enough that the order could change when the final numbers come in. NBC aired a new episode of Law & Order and the time-period premiere of Deal or No Deal (3.4/9), which was second from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. behind the football game and just ahead of Wife Swap (3.3/9).
CBS was unable to crack a 2.0 rating, including a 1.7/4 for the premiere of game show Power of 10. The network did better numbers with a repeat of Criminal Minds (2.1/5) featuring former star Mandy Patinkin.
The CW averaged a 0.9/2 for new episodes of Crowned and Gossip Girl.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.