NEW YORK — Mulder and Scully received a big assist from the NFL in attracting more than 16 million television viewers to the premiere of their return in Fox's "The X-Files."
Fox's iconic series starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson is back for a limited run, and Fox schedulers smiled on them by booking the show directly after the NFC championship game between Arizona and Carolina. That game was seen by 45.7 million people on Sunday, the Nielsen company said.
While more people watched "NCIS" last week, "The X-Files" had more than twice as many viewers as any other scripted series among viewers aged 18-to-49, Nielsen said. That's the audience Fox cares the most about.
CBS' coverage of the AFC championship between New England and Denver wasn't in prime time, but it was seen by an average of 53.3 million viewers Sunday on CBS. That made it the top-rated AFC championship game in 30 years, Nielsen said.
As the game was reaching its conclusion, CBS' telecast hit a peak of 63 million viewers between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST.
The NFC championship helped Fox to an easy ratings win, with the network averaging 13.2 million viewers in prime time. CBS had 8.7 million, NBC had 4.9 million, ABC had 4 million, Univision had 2.1 million, the CW had 2 million, Telemundo had 1.5 million and ION Television had 1.4 million.
Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.05 million viewers in prime time. HGTV had 1.73 million, USA had 1.69 million, TBS had 1.67 million and Discovery had 1.6 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 10.3 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 9.8 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 8.5 million viewers.
For the week of Jan. 18-24, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: NFC Championship, Arizona at Carolina, Fox, 45.74 million; "NFC Championship Post-Game Show," Fox, 33.9 million; "The OT," Fox, 24.32 million; "NCIS," CBS, 17.51 million; "The X-Files," Fox, 16.19 million; "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 13.31 million; "Scorpion," CBS, 11.61 million; "Blue Bloods," CBS, 11.56 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 11.09 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS, 10.64 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.
David Bauder, The Associated Press