ABC devoted its entire prime-time schedule last Tuesday to Seacrest's "New Year's Rockin' Eve." During the 10 p.m. hour as the ball dropping came near, Seacrest's show averaged 12.2 million viewers, according to the Nielsen Co. By contrast, Carson Daly's show on NBC at the same hour had 5.7 million viewers.
Nielsen did not immediately have estimates for how many viewers were watching at midnight for the calendar turning.
Nielsen did have averages for the cable news networks. Between 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m., Fox News Channel had just under 2 million viewers for its program hosted by Bill Hemmer and Elisabeth Hasselbeck and featuring members of the "Duck Dynasty" family. CNN's annual show with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin had 1.73 million for the same hour.
The reason broadcast averages were not available for the midnight hour was because networks had to make a special order and pay for them, and only the cable networks did so.
Football otherwise dominated the landscape in prime-time television, with the one prime-time NFL playoff game drawing more than 34 million viewers. It was the tight battle between New Orleans and Philadelphia broadcast by NBC.
Fox's prime-time ratings were lifted simply because Sunday's late game between Green Bay and San Francisco stretched briefly into prime time.
The football game enabled NBC to win the week in prime time, averaging 8.5 million viewers. CBS averaged 6.8 million viewers, Fox had 6.6 million, ABC had 5.1 million, Univision had 2.6 million, Telemundo had 1.34 million, ION Television had 1.32 million and the CW had 1.1 million.
With its college bowl games, ESPN's prime-time average of 7.8 million viewers outpaced all of the broadcast networks except NBC. USA averaged 2.7 million, the Disney Channel had 2.3 million, TBS had 1.89 million and History had 1.87 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 10.1 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 9.2 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.5 million viewers. With bad weather and many people in the country on vacation, evening news viewership was up about one million viewers per network.
For the week of Dec. 30- Jan. 5, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Playoffs: New Orleans at Philadelphia, NBC, 34.36 million; "NFL Pregame Show," NBC, 32.7 million; "NFL Postgame Show," Fox, 27.16 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 19.2 million; Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan St., ESPN, 18.64 million; "Rose Bowl Post-Game Show," ESPN, 17.45 million; Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Alabama, ESPN, 16.34 million; "Rose Bowl Pre-Game Show," ESPN, 12.4 million; "New Year's Rockin' Eve," ABC, 12.19 million; Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Ohio St., ESPN, 11.4 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.