Monday Night Football's telecast of the Minnesota Vikings/Green Bay Packers game attracted 21.84 million viewers -- the biggest audience for any telecast in the history of cable television, according to Nielsen Research. The ESPN telecast also beat out every program on broadcast television. The only thing close was ABC's Dancing with the Stars,which drew 17.8 million. The game had attracted mountains of publicity inasmuch as it featured Vikings quarterback Brett Favre in action against his former team, the Packers, for the first time. (The Vikings won 38-23.) The previous ratings record for an ESPN telecast was set last year when the Philadelphia Eagles/Dallas Cowboys game drew 18.6 million viewers.


NBC, which showed off some muscle during the summer and then made a grand entrance into the new season with its new Jay Leno Show,Sunday Night Football, and the wind-up of America's Got Talent,was back on the injured list again last week. Only football made any kind of showing for the network in the ratings, placing second in overall households and viewers (the pregame show placed eighth) and first among adults 18-49. But that was all she wrote. Otherwise, not a single NBC show appeared among the top 25 programs of the week. And Leno's numbers had dropped to where they had been when he hosted the Tonight show -- and are still dropping. CBS, on the other hand, remained the powerhouse it had been last season, with its long-running NCIS placing first in the ratings for the second consecutive week and its spinoff, NCIS Los Angelesplacing third behind NBC's football telecast. The network also experienced a ratings bonanza during the post-primetime period as David Letterman's Late Showtrounced Conan O'Brien's Tonightshow as Letterman became involved in a headline-making scandal. (Nevertheless a new Rasmussen Reports survey released Tuesday indicated that 29 percent of TV viewers say that they are less likely to watch Letterman's show as a result of the TV host's admissiions.) Among the nightly newscasts, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams remained in front with 8.31 million viewers. ABC World News with Charles Gibsonremained second with 7.65 million viewers. CBS Evening News with Katie Couricremained well behind with 5.69 million viewers. Overall for the week, CBS averaged a 7.2 rating and a 12 share. ABC placed second with a 6.2/10. NBC was a distant third with a 4.9/8, edging out Fox with a 4.5/7.

{@@@[email protected]@@}{@@@[email protected]@@}The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. NCIS, CBS, 12.9/21; 2. Sunday Night Football, NBC, 11/18; 3. NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS, 10.6/16; 4. Dancing with the Stars, ABC, 11.1/17; 5. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 9.9/16; 6. The Mentalist, CBS, 10.1/17; 7. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 9.9/16; 8. Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kickoff, NBC, 8.7/14; 9.House, Fox, 8.5/13; 10.Desperate Housewives, ABC, 9.2/14.


Struggling local television stations may be devoting an increasing amount of their dwindling resources to enhancing their websites, but a new study suggests that by and large their efforts have so far failed to pay off. According to the study by RTDNA/Hofstra University and reported by Broadcasting & Cable,under 31 percent of station websites are turning a profit; 10 percent are breaking even; 17 percent are showing a loss, while the remainder say they "don't know" how well their site is doing. The study also found that stations average just 2.3 full-time and 3.7 part-time employees on their websites. In station newsrooms, 38 percent said that most of the staff produces news across multiple platforms, but 48 percent said that their newsrooms had "a long way to go," and about 14 percent said that their newsrooms were "mostly winging it" online.


Filming of commercials on location in Los Angeles has been steadily growing in recent weeks, good news for an industry in which advertisers have been drastically cutting back television ad spending. The Los Angeles Timesreported today (Wednesday) that commercial filming generated 102 production days on Los Angeles streets last week, twice last year's numbers during a comparable period. Despite the recent upturn, however, on-location filming of commercials is down 21 percent for the year versus 2008.