According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jack Bauer's latest marathon workday got off to a good start Sunday, ratings-wise. The Fox drama 24 notched its most-watched episode ever with its fifth-season premiere with the first of two back-to-back episodes that got a boost from a primetime overrun (in East Coast and Midwestern markets) of the NFL's NFC divisional playoff game between the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears.

Airing from about 8:13-9:11 p.m. EST, the first episode of 24 averaged 17 million viewers and a 7.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic (demographic share data for Sunday was not available Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday), according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research. The second hour of 24, which ended at about 10:13 p.m. EST, held onto the majority of its lead-in to finish out with 15.5 million viewers and a 6.7 in adults 18-49.

Brian B.