By Jennifer Armstrong
January 12, 2009 at 12:00 PM EST

The very-long-awaited returns of two writers’ strike victims — the Golden Globes and 24 — scored on Sunday night, but it was the NFL playoffs that wound up winning the evening’s ratings game. The Chargers-Steelers matchup drew 29.7 million viewers in its primetime final hour on CBS, easily the best numbers of the night. 24 came back to Fox after sitting last season out, and it nabbed 12.6 million watchers — down from the 15.7 million who tuned in to the show’s previous season premiere nearly two years ago. NBC’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards also returned to humbler numbers: 14.6 million viewers, down 27 percent from 2007’s 20 million. (We’re pretending that that press conferency thing last year didn’t even happen.) Fox dominated (an otherwise snoozy) Saturday night, with its Cardinals-Panthers playoff game drawing 21.5 million viewers. And a pigskin-less Friday gave CBS free reign, as usual, with Ghost Whisperer (10.6 million) and Numb3rs (10.1 million).

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