Jersey Shore is riding high. Sarah Palin's Alaska is riding off into the sunset.
Was the cable universe not big enough for both shows? Did Snooki steal votes, er, viewers from the former veep contender?
For all the carping about how Sarah Palin's Alaska headed only downward after its premiere (a not-uncommon trend), Sunday's season—series?—finale was its network's most-watched show of the week, with 2.5 million viewers.
Jersey Shore, meawhile, not only doesn't bump off the competition, it doesn't have competition.
With an MTV-record 8.5 million viewers, its season-three opener scored a bigger audience than an all-new episodes of Private Practice, Cougar Town and Paula Abdul's Live to Dance.
Other winners—and losers—of the TV ratings week that was:
• Jim Carrey: The funnyman proved he's (almost) as hot as Betty White by hosting Saturday Night Live to its best overnight ratings of the season.
• Bob's Burgers: The new Fox toon sizzled with, per its network, the best 18-49 rating of any new-show premiere this season.
• Real Housewives: The Beverly Hills contingent was big (2.1 million); the Atlanta set was even bigger (3.3 million).
• Desperate Housewives: If ABC doesn't pick up this show for an eighth season, don't blame its ratings. Sunday's episode was typically top-drawer (12.7 million).
• The Cape: Overall, the superhero series' sneak peek was strong (8.4 million), but its soft demo rating made it look vulnerable.
• Shameless: The new William H. Macy series was Showtime's biggest drama-series premiere (982,000) since going all the way back to Dead Like Me. On the same night, David Duchovny's Californication scored its biggest-ever season premiere (848,000).
• Football: You watched a lot of it. A whole lot. Saturday night's NFL playoff game gave NBC its biggest Saturday night on record (33.4 million). Last night's BCS championship on ESPN was the most-watched show ever on cable (27.3 million). The numbers were so insane you'd have thought Snooki suited up.