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NFC Championship Game Ratings Take Hit But Boost Fox’s ‘9-1-1: Lone Star’ Premiere

UPDATED with adjustments: Fox’s primetime broadcast Sunday of the NFL’s NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers took a tackle for loss in the ratings compared with a year ago, but the game still dominated the competition and gave way to a solid bow for the premiere of the network’s 9-1-1: Lone Star.

The game, in which the 49ers beat the Packers 37-20 (it wasn’t as close as it sounds) to secure their spot in the Super Bowl against Kansas City on February 2, scored a 10.0 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and drew 34.13 million total viewers. That’s a big hit from last year’s primetime title game, the New England Patriots’ overtime victory over the Chiefs in the AFC finale on CBS, which drew a 27.2 rating in the early numbers and finaled at 53.9 million viewers. That had been a 27% spike from 2018 and the most-watched conference title game in a half-decade.

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Expect the 49ers-Packers numbers to rise some in Nielsen’s final numbers with gains among West Coast viewers.

9-1-1 Lone Star
9-1-1 Lone Star
Rob Lowe, left, and Ronen Rubenstein in ‘9-1-1: Lone Star’ Jack Zeman/Fox

The game was followed by the series premiere of 9-1-1: Lone Star (3.2, 11.5M) at 10 PM. The procedural spinoff from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk and showrunner Tim Minear was the network’s most-watched debut in 11 years (excluding post-Super Bowl programming), and 23% better than the post-NFC Championship Game debut of The Resident on Fox in 2018. (Last year, CBS led out of the down-to-the-wire AFC Championship Game with Magnum P.I. drew a 3.8 rating and 12.06 million viewers, easily series highs.)

Elsewhere, on Sunday, the CW aired a pivotal coming-out episode of Batwoman (0.2, 780,000), but ticked down in its return from the fall finale, marking a series low. The show’s superhero peer Supergirl (0.2, 830,000) also returned and managed to hold steady in ratings.

On ABC, Shark Tank (0.5, 2.70M) managed to stay on par with last week. Meanwhile, America’s Funniest Home Videos (0.5, 3.89M) and the Season 1 finale of Kids Say the Darndest Things (0.4, 2.79M) were down.

Reruns aired on CBS with the exception of 60 Minutes (1.0, 8.14M), which took a five-tenths hit from last week.