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Football-fueled CBS wins the week

Football-fueled CBS wins the week. An ”Idol”-driven Fox leapfrogs into the No. 2 spot

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It took 22 burly guys in padding and helmets, but Desperate Housewives finally got sacked in its own timeslot last week. Doing what the Golden Globes failed to do the previous Sunday, the AFC championship game on CBS (New England vs. Pittsburgh) outscored ABC’s women of Wisteria, 44.3 million viewers to 26 million, ranking as the No. 1 program for the week of Jan. 17 to 23. (Susan, Edie & Co., meanwhile, had to settle for a respectable No. 4).

CBS averaged 16.2 million couch potatoes for the week, followed by Fox (12 million), NBC (10.8 million), ABC (10 million), The WB (3.1 million) and UPN (3 million).

Rounding out the top five shows were Fox’s Tuesday and Wednesday editions of the returning sensation American Idol at No. 2 (33.6 million) and No. 3 (26.7 million), respectively, and the debut of CBS’ mathematics-forensics mash-up, Numb3rs, which benefited from a post-football boost to the tune of 25 million.

Among other new and returning series, NBC’s The Apprentice finished No. 13, Fox’s Point Pleasant ranked No. 29 in the plum post-Idol period, and ABC’s Supernanny was No. 38 against stiff competition from CSI: Miami (No. 6) and Medium (No. 18).

Finally, in a week where much of the country faced bitter cold, scads of snow, or both, only 1.1 million Americans wanted to take a trip to a repeat of The WB’s Summerland, which at No. 114, was the week’s lowest-rated show.