We Feel Those Ratings Kicking: Suddenly, Millions Wanted to Catch a Glimpse of 'Zoey'

This week's winners, from left:
This week's winners, from left: "Goodbye Zoey," starring mom-to-be Jamie Lynn Spears; "New Year's Rockin' Eve," with host Dick Clark, here with wife Kari; and "American Gladiator," with Venom and Hulk Hogan. (Nickelodeon)
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By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Take note, striking writers: With 10 hours of reality programming (out of 22 hours of prime time) and another three of football, NBC matched its best weekly average in three years among the 18-to-49-year-olds advertisers chase and won the first week of '08 among viewers of all ages.

Here's a look at the week's champagne and cider:

WINNERS

Goodbye Zoey. Pregnancy -- so luring. Before knowing "Zoey 101" star Jamie Lynn Spears was pregnant, about 3 million of you watched the third season of the Nickelodeon series. After Britbrit's 16-year-old sister revealed she was in the family way, more than 7 million of you caught the hour-long third-season wrap-up, in which our gal Z had to choose between staying at Pacific Coast Academy with her best buds, and moving to London with her mom and dad. She chose London, but then found out her best friend, Chase, is in love with her -- boy, is he in for a surprise. Nickelodeon already shot Season 4, which will debut next month.

NFL Playoff Game 2. NBC's Jacksonville-at-Pittsburgh coverage logged nearly 26 million viewers, the biggest night-long crowd for any network since Fox's "American Idol" finale last May.

"New Year's Rockin' Eve." Numbers for ABC's kitsch-athon won't be out until tomorrow but we know the prime-time portion clocked 9.2 million viewers -- its largest audience in six years.

"American Gladiator." Nearly 12.1 million viewers of all ages watched the return of the competition series Sunday, making it NBC's most watched non-sports program on a Sunday night since it carried the '06 Primetime Emmy Awards.

"Law & Order." Returning to NBC's lineup, "L&O" tallied 13.5 million viewers, the network's highest non-Olympic number in the time period in nearly two years.

"The Apprentice." Seventh edition of NBC's The Donald-athon, featuring "celebrity" apprentices, scored more than 11 million viewers, its biggest opening audience since its third.

Presidential debates. ABC's back-to-back GOP and Democratic candidate debates Saturday posted an average of just under 9 million viewers, the net's biggest non-sports audience on a Saturday night in more than a year. (CNN's replay on Sunday clocked another 1.2 million.)


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