Running into the first night of the broadcast season, buoyed by record numbers for CBS's Two and a Half Men, and the roast of its erstwhile star on Comedy Central, Monday Night Football took a significant Nielsen hit.
Per usual, ESPN easily won the night in cable, averaging 11.9 million viewers with its coverage of the New York Giants' 28-16 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 19. However, MNF's delivery was down 21.2% from the corresponding game of the 2010 campaign, when the New Orleans Saints-San Francisco 49ers drew 15.1 million watchers.
The Giants-Rams contest was blitzed by the official kickoff of the broadcast season, which saw Ashton Kutcher boost Two and a Half Men to a record 28.7 million viewers and serve as a strong lead-in for Broke Girls, the newest member of CBS's comedy lineup that averaged 19.4 million in its debut.
Meanwhile, the man whom Kutcher replaced, Charlie Sheen, did some Nielsen winning of his own. The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen averaged 6.4 million viewers on Monday night, the most ever for the network's franchise.