When Janet Jackson displayed half of her assets at Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show, the kids were watching.
Super Bowl XXXVIII, featuring Jackson's under-investigation right breast, was the prime-time week's most-watched show among tykes aged 2-5, not to mention grade-schoolers aged 6-11 and adolescents aged 12-17.
Per usual, the Super Bowl was tops among just about everybody, except the diehards who caught NBC's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy marathon. Overall, 143.6 million watched some or all of the New England Patriots' victory over the Carolina Panthers, as broadcast on CBS.
The big game averaged 89.8 million viewers, easily the most-watched show of the TV week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research. Nearly 60 million remained in their Barcaloungers for CBS' postgame show.
As for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Its back-to-back-to-back Sunday night episodes were big with the few, the proud, the fashionable, averaging 3.9 million viewers, to be exact.
Elsewhere: Nearly 34 million watched Survivor: Australian Outback winner Tina Wesson get snuffed out in the CBS premiere of Survivor: All-Stars, airing in the golden, if late-night, post-Super Bowl time slot. (The show didn't start in the East Coast until 10:52 p.m.--CBS scheduled a rerun for Tuesday night.)
Two more hours' worth of mostly awful American Idol auditions kept Fox humming along. Tuesday's episode was the week's fourth-most watched show (29.6 million); Wednesday's was the fifth-most watched show (28.3 million).
NBC's The Apprentice, last seen firing yet another one of its hapless male contestants, acquitted itself nicely in its new 9 p.m., Thursday home--eighth place, 18.9 million viewers. Still, it couldn't trump a repeat of CBS' CSI (seventh place, 20.2 million). NBC's Fear Factor, yet another unlikely favorite of toddlers (who made it their fifth-most-watched show), grossed out a total of 17.8 million, good for ninth-place overall.
Barbara Walters' 20/20 interview with View cohost Meredith Vieira and her medically challenged husband brought ABC its best showing of the week--16th place, 13.5 million viewers.
The CBS special, Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials 3, proved to be a Saturday night favorite (30th place, 11 million), quite possibly because it didn't feature that Mike Ditka spot on erectile dysfunction.
The goodwill extended to the sitcom in the wake of John Ritter's death now apparently over, ABC's 8 Simple Rules fell to 40th place, with just 9.1 million viewers.
Overall, Super Bowl-sized CBS won the week, averaging a whopping 25.3 million viewers.
Led by Idol, Fox edged NBC for second, averaging 9.8 million to the Peacock's 9.4 million. ABC flailed in fourth, with 7.9 million.
UPN was in vogue with America's Next Top Model, which catwalked all the way up to 59th place, with 7.1 million viewers.
The supermodel-powered UPN easily topped WB, averaging 4 million viewers to the Frog's 3.7 million.
A Sunday night repeat of the WB's Surreal Life, airing opposite the Super Bowl, was the week's incredibly least-watched network show--116th place, 1.2 million viewers.
Here's a rundown of the 10 most-watched shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:
1. Super Bowl XXXVIII, CBS, 89.8 million viewers
2. Super Bowl XXXVIII Postgame, CBS, 59 million
3. Survivor: All-Stars, CBS, 33.5 million
4. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 29.6 million
5. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 28.3 million
6. Friends, NBC, 20.9 million
7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 20.2 million
8. The Apprentice, NBC, 18.9 million
9. Fear Factor, NBC, 17.8 million
10. Without a Trace, CBS, 17.5 million