NEW YORK (AP) — Football dominated the past week in the television ratings — and Sean Penn was among the beneficiaries.
The Nielsen company said Sunday’s edition of CBS’ “60 Minutes” was seen by 20.6 million viewers, its largest audience since a postelection interview with President-elect Barack Obama in 2008. The show opened with a Lesley Stahl report on Chinese corporate espionage, and featured Charlie Rose’s interview with Sean Penn about his conversation with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
The news show was handed a strong lead-in audience, with more than 30 million people watching the NFL playoff game between Pittsburgh and Denver.
Arizona’s thrilling overtime victory over Green Bay on Saturday night was the week’s most popular prime-time program with 33.7 million viewers, Nielsen said.
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The week also featured Alabama’s victory over Clemson for the college football national championship, which was seen by 25.7 million viewers.
CBS won the week in prime time, averaging 10.6 million viewers. NBC had 9.6 million, Fox had 4.2 million, ABC had 3.9 million, Univision had 2.2 million, Telemundo had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.3 million and the CW had 1.2 million.
With the football championship, ESPN was the most popular cable network in prime time, averaging 3.99 million viewers; Fox News Channel had 1.96 million; the Disney Channel had 1.7 million; HGTV had 1.62 million; and TBS had 1.55 million.
NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.4 million. ABC’s “World News Tonight” had 9.3 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.8 million.
For the week of Jan. 11-17, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Playoff: Green Bay at Arizona, NBC, 33.73 million; “NFL Playoff Post-Game,” (Pittsburgh at Denver), CBS, 31.17 million; College Football Championship: Alabama vs. Clemson, ESPN, 25.67 million; “College Football Championship Post-Game,” ESPN, 23.65 million; “NFL Playoff Pre-Game,” (Green Bay at Arizona), NBC, 21.81 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 20.62 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 15.75 million; “NFL Playoff Post Game” (Kansas City at New England), CBS, 13.72 million; “Madam Secretary,” CBS, 11.87 million; “College Football Championship Pregame,” ESPN, 11.73 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.