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TV Ratings: NFC Championship Game Tops 2016, Pats-Steelers Can’t Top Broncos-Pats

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The games that decided who’s going to Super Bowl LI in Houston brought in their usual mega audiences. In Nielsen’s metered market overnight ratings, the early NFC Championship Game brought in a 27.4 household rating on Fox, while the late AFC Championship drew a 27.6 on CBS.

The NFC’s overnights topped last year’s blowout of the Arizona Cardinals by the Carolina Panthers (26.8); that game was the late one of the two conference championships. When compared  Sunday’s NFC Championship was a blowout as well, with the Atlanta Falcons trouncing the Green Bay Packers 44-21 to book their first Super Bowl appearance in 18 years.

The AFC’s overnights for Sunday are quite a bit south of last year’s gangbusters game, which drew a massive 31.8 household rating for a Denver Broncos-New England Patriots bash that ended with Peyton Manning narrowly winning the day. This year, the Pats smoked the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to send Tom Brady in search of another ring.

After the AFC Championship Game, CBS debuted reality series “Hunted” to a preliminary 3.6 in the dollar demo, and 10.77 million viewers. However, the premiere started at 10:09 on the East Coast, making its numbers supremely wonky and subject to significant downward adjustment. Updated numbers will be available later Monday afternoon.

Understandably, everyone who didn’t have football on in the evening hours went into hibernation, excepting only a special 90-minute “Dateline” on NBC (0.8 in the demo, 5 million total viewers) and Fox’s “Son of Zorn,” a new episode of which brought in a 0.9 in the demo and 1.99 million viewers.

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