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TV ratings: 'Following' season debut up sharply with football's help

The second-season premiere of "The Following," airing immediately after Sunday's huge National Football Conference championship game, got a spike in the ratings. 

The opener for the Kevin Bacon-starring thriller drew an average of 11.2 million viewers overall and a rating of 4.4 among advertiser-desired 18-to-49-year-olds, according to time-zone-adjusted numbers from Nielsen. Compared with the series premiere of "The Following" last year, the show's total audience was up 8% and its key demographic rating grew 38%. 

Compared with the series' first-season finale, viewership was up 44% overall and 68% in the demo. 

The premiere received a considerable boost from the NFL playoff match-up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks, which drew a rating of 31 in Nielsen's metered market households, up 19% from last year's comparable contest. Final numbers for the NFL games are due out later Monday. 

Competition was light on the major broadcast networks.

Following a repeat of "America's Funniest Home Videos," a "Bachelor" special drew a 0.9 in 18-to-49, down 10% from last week's behind-the-scenes look at the reality show. "Revenge" fell 19% to a 1.3, while "Betrayal" ended with a 0.7, tying its lowest ever. 

NBC's telecast of the raunchy comedy "Bridesmaids" drew an average of 3.2 million viewers from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

CBS was in all reruns after "60 Minutes." 


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