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Ratings: 'Sunday Night Football' scores a weekly win for NBC

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Csilawrence_l NBC finally has something to crow about–in terms of ratings, at least. But credit doesn’t go to their entertainment division. No, the accolades are for the sports division, whose Sunday Night Football pulled in the most viewers (just over 23 million!) for the week of Dec. 8-14.

Granted, many shows were in repeats during the seven-day period, which meant less competition for the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys–especially on Sunday night, where Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, and The Amazing Race were all old. But Sunday Night Football did top the fall’s usual weekly winner, CSI on CBS, which was No. 2 and pulled in 20.9 million viewers for an episode that had no competition from Grey’s Anatomy and featured the debut of Laurence Fishburne (pictured).

The bigger story with Sunday Night Football‘s big score, however, is the fact that it was the franchise’s most-viewed game ever. The airing was also the No. 3 primetime program for the entire fall so far (behind CSI‘s Oct. 9 premiere and the Nov. 16 telecast of 60 Minutes, which featured the first post-election interview with President-elect Barack Obama). And it was the No. 1 telecast in the advertiser-loving 18-49 demographic of the season. So, really, that’s a lot of touchdowns for the beleaguered NBC.

The rest of the shows in the Top 20 were a mixed bag. CBS’s Survivor: Gabon showed up three times–at Nos. 7, 13, and 14–with a regular episode on Thursday and the finale and reunion special on Sunday. CBS, of course, dominated with a handful of its procedurals (several were in repeats), 60 Minutes, and then all four of its Monday night comedies. Fox popped up with No. 6 House (14.1 million), while NBC managed to make another appearance with No. 15 Law & Order: SVU, which pulled in 11 million viewers. ABC struck with the holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas (11 million at No. 15), and Boston Legal (9.9 million), which just barely made the Top 20 in its final week on the air. The full breakdown of the week’s top shows is after the jump.

addCredit(“Sonja Flemming/CBS”)

1. Sunday Night Football | NBC | 23.1 million
2. CSI | CBS | 20.9 million
3. 60 Minutes | CBS | 18.8 million
4. Two and a Half Men | CBS | 15.6 million
5. Criminal Minds | CBS | 14.7 million
6. House | Fox | 14.1 million
7. CSI: Miami | CBS | 13.8 million
    Survivor: Gabon Finale | CBS | 13.8 million
9. The Mentalist (R) | CBS | 13.7 million
    NCIS (R) | CBS | 13.7 million
11. Eleventh Hour | CBS | 13.4 million
12. CSI: NY | CBS | 13.3 million
13. Survivor: Gabon | CBS | 13.0 million
14. Survivor: Gabon Reunion | CBS | 11.7 million
15. Charlie Brown Christmas | ABC | 11.0 million
      Law & Order: SVU | NBC | 11.0 million
17. The Big Bang Theory | CBS | 10.5 million
      How I Met Your Mother | CBS | 10.5 million
19. Worst Week | CBS | 10.4 million
20. Boston Legal | ABC | 9.9 million

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1. Sunday Night Football | NBC | 23.1 million
2. CSI | CBS | 20.9 million
3. 60 Minutes | CBS | 18.8 million
4. Two and a Half Men | CBS | 15.6 million
5. Criminal Minds | CBS | 14.7 million
6. House | Fox | 14.1 million
7. CSI: Miami | CBS | 13.8 million
    Survivor: Gabon Finale | CBS | 13.8 million
9. The Mentalist (R) | CBS | 13.7 million
    NCIS (R) | CBS | 13.7 million
11. Eleventh Hour | CBS | 13.4 million
12. CSI: NY | CBS | 13.3 million
13. Survivor: Gabon | CBS | 13.0 million
14. Survivor: Gabon Reunion | CBS | 11.7 million
15. Charlie Brown Christmas | ABC | 11.0 million
      Law & Order: SVU | NBC | 11.0 million
17. The Big Bang Theory | CBS | 10.5 million
      How I Met Your Mother | CBS | 10.5 million
19. Worst Week | CBS | 10.4 million
20. Boston Legal | ABC | 9.9 million

More TV News:
‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’: Season 2 is on deck
‘The Hills’ recap: Altared state
DVR dilemma: Let axes shows go?
Ryan Murphy’s ‘Glee’ a go at Fox

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