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Despite NFL game, CBS rules ratings

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NEW YORK (AP) — A strong Sunday night football game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys helped NBC top the prime-time ratings, but it was an otherwise dominant week for CBS.

The football game and its pregame shows finished among Nielsen's top 20 most popular programs last week, along with Fox's ''House,'' NBC's ''Law & Order: SVU'' and ABC's annual airing of ''A Charlie Brown Christmas.''

Otherwise, all the other programs in the top 20 were on CBS. The network's Monday night comedies did very well, particularly ''Two and a Half Men.''

ABC's two-hour ''Boston Legal'' finale, with the colorful heterosexual marriage story line between James Spader and William Shatner's characters, was seen by just under 10 million viewers, its best result of the season.

For the week, CBS averaged 11.9 million viewers (7.4 rating, 12 share). NBC had 8.8 million (5.4, 9), ABC 6.3 million (4.0, 7), Fox 6 million (3.7, 6), My Network TV 2.4 million (1.4, 2), the CW 1.5 million (1.0, 2) and ION Television 620,000 (0.4, 1).

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 4 million viewers (2.0 rating, 3 share), Telemundo 1.2 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura 580,000 (0.3, 0) and Azteca 290,000 (0.2, 0).

NBC's ''Nightly News'' dominated the evening newscasts with an average of 10 million viewers (6.6, 12). ABC's ''World News'' was second with 8.6 million (5.8, 11) and the ''CBS Evening News'' had 7.1 million viewers (4.7, 9).

A ratings point represents 1,145,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.5 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Dec. 8-14, the top 20 shows, their networks and viewerships: ''Sunday Night Football: N.Y. Giants vs. Dallas,'' NBC, 23.05 million; ''CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,'' CBS, 20.86 million; ''60 Minutes,'' CBS, 18.8 million; ''Two and a Half Men,'' CBS, 15.59 million; ''Criminal Minds,'' CBS, 14.68 million; ''Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,'' NBC, 14.2 million; ''House,'' Fox, 14.05 million; ''CSI: Miami,'' CBS, 13.79 million; ''Survivor: Gabor Finale,'' CBS, 13.77 million; ''The Mentalist,'' CBS, 13.7 million.

"NCIS," CBS, 13.66 million; "Eleven Hour," CBS, 13.4 million; "CSI: NY," CBS, 13.33 million; "Survivor: Gabon," CBS, 13.05 million; "Survivor: Gabon Reunion," CBS, 11.74 million; "A Charlie Brown Christmas," ABC, 11.02 million; "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," NBC, 11.02 million; "Football Night In America Part 3," NBC, 10.83 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 10.5 million; "How I Met Your Mother," CBS, 10.49 million.