Criminal Minds, not House, aired after the Super Bowl. Not that you could tell looking at the ratings.

House outdid Criminal Minds and every other scripted series in the latest Nielsen Media Research prime-time rankings, with a regular old Tuesday-night episode that averaged a series-best 27.4 million viewers (sixth place).

Criminal Minds averaged 26.3 million (seventh place) in a special outing after Sunday's Super Bowl on CBS.

Though no Super Bowl, House's Fox lead-in was no slouch: It was Tuesday's American Idol (fourth place, 33.7 million), roughly the equivalent of a week in, week out Oscars telecast.

Last week was the first time this season that House aired after Idol. Given that the medical series was averaging a solid but mortal 15.3 million viewers before then, it's no doubt looking forward to several more weeks of Simon Cowell spillover.

Criminal Minds, meanwhile, looked more impressive helping scare Lost out of its 9 p.m. Wednesday time slot than it did trying to hold onto the Super Bowl's nearly 100 million revelers.

The crime show's postgame telecast was the least-watched Super Bowl-night show on a Super Bowl network since The Simpsons pulled in a relatively so-so 23.1 million for Fox in 2005.

Last year, ABC's Grey's Anatomy used the Super Bowl spotlight to strut its stuff in front of 37.9 million, and vault past Desperate Housewives as TV's "It" show. On Super Bowl Sunday 2004, CBS saw the season-premiere of Survivor: All Stars sampled by 33.5 million.

On the other hand, Criminal Minds did hit series highs in a number of categories: viewers, households and, as they say, "key demos."

Also, the show held off the test pattern that was NBC's Grease: You're the One That I Want rerun marathon (averaging 3.3 million), and smoked a rebroadcast of Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl (420,000 viewers for the 9 p.m.-midnight offering).

Here are some more ratings highlights from the TV week ended Sunday:

  • CBS' Super Bowl XLI (first place, 93.2 million) was the third-most-watched anything in Nielsen history.
  • To put the historic Super Bowl audience into perspective, the game was almost, but not quite, the size of three Wednesday Idols (fifth place, 31.8 million).
  • ABC's Grey's Anatomy (eighth place, 24.2 million) and CBS' CSI (ninth place, 21.5 million) didn't air after the Super Bowl, either. Not that you could tell that from their numbers, either.
  • CBS' Shark (11th place, 14.1 million) showed up fellow freshmen Ugly Betty (13th place, 14 million) and Heroes (14th place, 13.6 million).
  • A fresh Studio 60 (53rd place, 6.9 million) failed to mount a fight against an old CSI: Miami (15th place, 13.5 million) and got ordered to sit down, starting Mar. 5, to make way for the Paul Haggis drama The Black Donnellys.
  • A fresh 30 Rock (71st place, 5.7 million) failed to mount a fight against anything and was ordered to sit down, starting Mar. 15, to make way for another new Andy Richter comedy. Both of NBC's SNL-inspired series are due back. One difference: 30 Rock has a scheduled return date (Apr. 19); Studio 60 doesn't.
  • ABC's Knights of Prosperity (77th place, 5.1 million) did less badly in its new Wednesday time slot, while According to Jim (69th place, 5.7 million) did less good in its.   
  • Somebody up there likes ABC's What About Brian (68th place, 5.7 million), lauded by its network for scoring its best numbers since, well, October.
  • Airing after the Super Bowl, as well as after Criminal Minds, CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (5.2 million) scored its biggest-ever audience, thanks to people who hadn't quite watched enough TV.
  • On cable, USA's Monk (5.2 million) was the most-watched series; Bravo's Top Chef (3.9 million) the most-watched reality-series finale.
  • Heather Locklear still rules, as evidenced by the top-watched cable movie, Lifetime's Angels Fall (4.9 million).
  • CMT's coverage of the 2007 Miss America Pageant (2.4 million) "drew a significantly younger audience," not to mention the smallest-ever overall audience in the scholarship competition's 53-year TV history.
  • To put the historic Miss America audience into perspective, the event was almost, but not quite, as big as the Thursday-night repeat of Everybody Loves Raymond (2.43 million) on TBS.

In the network race, Fox's American Idols were no match for CBS' Super Bowl.

CBS breezed to a win as the week's most-watched network (averaging 23.7 million), topping Fox (11.4 million), NBC (8.2 million) and ABC (7.4 million). The networks finished in the same order in the race for 18- to 49-year-old viewers.

The CW (3 million) got a season high out of Friday Night Smackdown (78th place, 5.1 million).

Here's a look at the 10 most-watched prime-time shows for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research:

1. Super Bowl XLI, CBS, 93.2 million viewers
2. Super Bowl XLI "Post Gun," CBS, 81.5 million viewers
3. Super Bowl XLI Postgame, CBS, 57.3 million viewers
4. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 33.7 million viewers
5. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 31.8 million viewers
6. House, Fox, 27.3 million viewers
7. Criminal Minds (Sunday), CBS, 26.3 million viewers
8. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 24.2 million viewers
9. CSI, CBS, 21.5 million viewers
10. Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 16.9 million viewers

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