Football gave NBC executives something to boast about Tuesday even as they faced ridicule from within and without the company for their handling of the Jay Leno-Conan O'Brien mess. The network's telecast of the NFL playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday drew 32.1 million viewers, powering it to an overall ratings victory for the week. The last time NBC placed first in the weekly Nielsens came a year ago when it aired the Super Bowl. The victory also knocked CBS out of the top spot for the only time this season except for the week of Oct. 26, when the World Series lifted Fox to No. 1. Notably the huge ratings were produced on a Saturday -- a night that all of the television networks have written off as a loser, figuring that most Americans find their entertainment outside the home on that night. (And indeed, the motion picture box office scored one of its best Saturdays in recent memory, with the top 10 films earning more than $61 million.) College football also scored for ABC, with the network's coverage of the BCS national championship game between Texas and Alabama finishing in second place with 30.78 million viewers. Fox also was helped by football, scoring solid ratings for its coverage of the Fiesta and Orange Bowls, as well as with the heavily promoted 450th episode of The Simpsons . For the week, NBC led with a 6.2 rating and a 10 share and 10.1 million viewers. CBS placed second with identical ratings but with 9.86 million viewers. Fox followed with a 5.9/9, edging out ABC with a 5.8/9.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research 1. NFL Playoffs Eagles/Cowboys, NBC, 18.0/30; 2. 2010 BCS National Championship, ABC, 17.2/28; 3. NFL Playoff Pre-kickoff, NBC, 15.6/27; 4. Fox NFC Wildcard Post Game, Fox, 14.0/22; 5. NCIS, CBS, 12.9/20; 6. NCIS Los Angeles, CBS, 110./17; 7. BCS Championship Pregame, ABC, 10.0/16; 8. The Good Wife, CBS, 9.0/15; 9. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 8.8/13; 10. Fiesta Bowl, Fox, 8.2/13.