The AFC Championship game on CBS drew the strongest ratings for the conference's title game in 24 years.
Overnight Nielsen figures showed the game had the highest percentage of households (31.3 percent in the 56 top TV markets) since NBC's 1987 broadcast of the Denver Broncos defeating the Cleveland Browns in the AFC title tilt (31.9 percent).
Brian McCarthy, the National Football League's vice president of communications, tweeted that Sunday night's 24-19 victory by the Pittsburgh Steelers over the New York Jets attracted 54.8 million viewers. (The previous high for the AFC contest: 51.6 million viewers for San Diego vs. Cincinnati in 1982.)
After the game, CBS gave folks a Sunday sampling of Hawaii Five-0, (starting at 10:13 p.m./ET). It kept 19.2 million people watching and earned a 5.6 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic, series highs in both categories. Meantime, ABC's Brothers & Sisters rerun got 3.1 million.
NBC — which has done so well with this season's top-rated franchise, Sunday Night Football — ran Dateline NBC at 7/6c, then the 2008 Sex and the City feature film, which pulled in audiences of 4.6 million and 3.2 million, respectively. (Last week, the network had nearly 17 million people watching the three-hour Golden Globes.)
On Fox, the night kicked off with reruns of The Simpsons (5.1 million viewers) and American Dad (4.8 million). Then, The Simpsons garnered 6.5 million viewers at 8, while Bob's Burgers lured 4.8 million at 8:30. Family Guy and The Cleveland Show had 5.4 million and 5.2 million at 9 and 9:30, respectively.