Ratings news from across your dial, led off by a very big weekend for the National Football League:
– The NFL scored its most-watched conference championship doubleheader since 1982 with Sunday’s (Jan. 23) games, which between them averaged 53.4 million viewers. CBS’ prime-time coverage of the AFC title game between Pittsburgh and the New York Jets delivered 54.85 million viewers, and FOX’s afternoon broadcast of the Green Bay-Chicago NFC championship drew 51.9 million people.
The Jets-Steelers game was the most-watched AFC championship ever, surpassing the 51.6 million who watched the Cincinnati Bengals-San Diego Chargers matchup on Jan. 10, 1982. (It was down a little, however, from FOX’s prime-time broadcast of the NFC championship last year, which drew 57.9 million people).
– After the AFC title game, a special episode of “Hawaii Five-0″ drew its biggest audience of the season. The episode, which started at 10:13 p.m. ET/7:13 PT, clocked 19.2 million viewers and a 5.6 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic.
By comparison, an episode of “The Mentalist” that aired after the AFC championship in 2009 averaged 16.3 million viewers and a 4.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic. For the season prior to Sunday (DVR use included), “Five-0″ is averaging a little over 13 million viewers per episode and a 3.6 in the demo.
– Speaking of “Five-0,” it and ABC’s “Modern Family” were the big winners in the DVR ratings for the first week of 2011.
“Modern Family’s” Jan. 5 episode added 1.7 points to its 18-49 rating with DVR usage, the biggest point gain for any show this season. It went from a 4.8 in the demographic in the same-day numbers to a 6.5 in the live-plus-7 rankings. The show was also No. 2 in terms of viewers added, gaining 3.36 million people to raise its total from 11.85 million to 15.21 million.
The biggest total-viewer gainer for the week of Jan. 3 was “Five-0,” which added 3.9 million viewers — the most ever since Nielsen started tracking live-plus-7 numbers a few seasons ago — to raise its total from 11 million to 14.9 million. It got the third-biggest boost in adults 18-49, going from 2.9 to 4.1. (“Grey’s Anatomy” was second with 1.3 points added.)
– “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” scored strong ratings in its debut on Starz Friday. The premiere brought in 1.1 million people — up significantly from the 700,000 who watched the “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” debut last year but down a touch from “Blood and Sand’s” finale (1.2 million). A replay at 11 p.m. Friday drew an additional 750,000 viewers.