Originally created 01/23/04

NFC championship puts Fox on top



NEW YORK - The 40 million viewers who watched the NFC championship game between the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles gave Fox a prime-time ratings victory last week.

Fox won even though its highest-rated programs unrelated to the game - two episodes of The Simple Life - were ranked Nos. 34 and 35 in popularity, Nielsen Media Research said Thursday.

NBC's Friends was seen by 26.7 million people last week, a season high, as fans of the comedy count down to its final episode in May.

Donald Trump is smiling, too, because The Apprentice was seen by 20.2 million viewers last week. Now it will go against Fox's juggernaut, American Idol, every week.

CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was the week's most-watched entertainment program, with 28.7 million viewers.

For the week, Fox averaged 13.6 million viewers (8.3 rating, 13 share) and CBS had 13.2 million viewers (8.6, 14). CBS' higher ratings indicates more TV sets were tuned in to CBS - but more people were watching the sets with Fox on.

NBC averaged 11.6 million viewers (7.5, 12), ABC had 7.8 million (5.1, 8), the WB 3.6 million and UPN 3.5 million (both 2.4, 4) and Pax TV had 1 million (0.7, 1).

Prime-time viewership numbers were compiled by Nielsen Media Research for Jan. 12-18. Top 20 listings include the week's ranking, with viewership for the week and season-to-date rankings in parentheses. An "X" in parentheses denotes a one-time-only presentation.

1. (X) NFC Championship: Carolina vs. Philadelphia, Fox, 40.4 million viewers

2. (1) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 28.7 million viewers

3. (3) Friends, NBC, 26.7 million viewers

4. (4) ER, NBC, 21.6 million viewers

5. (X) The Apprentice, NBC, 20.2 million viewers

6. (6) CSI: Miami, CBS, 19.7 million viewers

7. (5) Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 19.3 million viewers

8. (X) NFC Championship Postgame Show, Fox, 18.8 million viewers

9. (10) Two and a Half Men, CBS, 17.9 million viewers

10. (8) Without a Trace, CBS, 17.4 million viewers

11. (9) Law & Order, NBC, 17.2 million viewers

12. (X) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 16.3 million viewers

13. (18) Fear Factor, NBC, 16.2 million viewers

14. (12) Will & Grace, NBC, 15 million viewers

15. (22) Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC, 14.1 million viewers

16. (22) Navy NCIS, CBS, 14 million viewers

17. (34) Las Vegas, NBC, 13.9 million viewers

18. (13) Cold Case, CBS, 12.8 million viewers

19. (X) 35 Years and 60 Minutes Encore,CBS, 12.5 million viewers

20. (30) King of Queens, CBS, 12.5 million viewers