Chicago Bears the Lone Winners in TV's Monday Bear Market

Rash Report: ESPN Scores First Place for the Night

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MINNEAPOLIS ( -- With the networks at the point where even the holiday specials are starting to repeat, Monday night was a bear market for viewers. This dampened demo delivery in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic for all networks. That is, except one: ESPN won first place with a bear market of its own, namely the Chicago Bears victory over the Green Bay Packers on "Monday Night Football." The game, which kept the Bears in playoff contention, scored a 5.0/14 rating and share, well above CBS's 2.4/7, Fox's 2.0/6, ABC's 1.8/5, NBC's 1.7/5 and the CW's .4/1.

ESPN won first place with the Chicago Bears victory over the Green Bay Packers on 'Monday Night Football.'
ESPN won first place with the Chicago Bears victory over the Green Bay Packers on 'Monday Night Football.' Credit: AP
CBS, which usually competes with Fox for first place on Monday night, ran reruns of its hit sitcoms, which were each off about a third from normal original episode averages. Still, the network had the highest-rated broadcast show of the night, as "Two and a Half Men" delivered a 3.5/10. And despite being repeats, lead-ins "The Big Bang Theory" (2.4/7) and "How I Met Your Mother" (2.5/7) won the 8-9 p.m. broadcast battle. But "Men's" lead-out, "Worst Week Ever," had just that, as the series fell to a new low with a 2.0/5. This was the same delivery for 10 p.m.'s repeat of "CSI: Miami," which could only arrest about half of the viewers it reached just last week.

Fox fared poorly as well, as a repeat of "House" (2.2/6) was at less than half of normal levels. Still, it beat lead-out "Prison Break" (1.9/5), which could not break out despite being a midseason finale.

No commitment for 'Momma's Boys'
The boys on NBC's "Momma's Boys" also couldn't break out, neither from their meddling moms or in the ratings, as a two-hour version indicated that the new reality dating show is unlikely to get any long-term commitments from viewers. "Momma's Boys" delivered a 1.7/5, which represented a ratings decline of 32% from its primetime premiere a week ago.

NBC started the night with "Today Looks Back 2008," a primetime version of its early morning news show that undoubtedly looked back at the bear market itself. It, too, seemed to face recessionary times, as the 1.5/5 was fourth in the timeslot.

Fifth place was reserved for the CW, which ran repeats of "Gossip Girl" (.5/2) and "One Tree Hill" (.3/1).

ABC showed green monsters, not bears, last night. First was Shrek in the holiday special "Shrek the Halls," (1.8/6) which was broadcast for the second time this season. Next was the green monster of greed, which foils all but Charlie Bucket in the "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," the 2005 theatrical starring Johnny Depp, delivering a 1.8/5.

Last night's green monsters will yield to tonight's, the Grinch, as ABC repeats "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas." And then, at least for a night, the monsters and bears will yield to reindeer, as Christmas Eve readings of Clement Clark Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" quiets the set, if not the kids.

Tuesday: Two versions of Christmas cold: PBS's "Nova" examines the science of harvesting cold for frozen food, air conditioning and other commercial purposes on "Absolute Zero." And a warmer version of cold, Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" runs on AMC.
Wednesday: Maybe it's the Minnesotan in me, but PBS's "Christmas at St. Olaf: Where Peace and Love and Hope Abide" has the best music of any holiday special.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The return of The Rash Report on Monday, January 5. Happy holidays!

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