Not that it needed it, but CBS gave a nice bounce to its frosh hit "The Mentalist" on Sunday by opportunistically slotting an original seg to follow the AFC championship game that saw the Pittsburgh Steelers whack the Baltimore Ravens to secure their Super Bowl berth against the Arizona Cardinals.
The game delivered monster numbers -- reliable national ratings won't be available until Tuesday, but the prelim Nielsens indicate that it had at least 40 million viewers at the start of primetime.
"Mentalist," which usually airs Tuesday at 9 p.m., started at 10:34 p.m. ET and averaged 16.6 million viewers and 4.7 rating in adults 18-49. That's actually down a tick (or 1%) from the viewer average that the show pulls in its regular Tuesday time slot, but it marks an 18-49 personal best for the gumshoe drama starring Simon Baker.
CBS' goal was to exposure the show to the gridiron demo; it doesn't sound like "Mentalist" is moving off of Tuesday any time soon. (But I'd bet money that it gets an early second-season pickup any day now.)
(Pictured above, "Mentalist" creator/exec producer Bruno Heller, left and star Simon Baker from last week's TCA sesh.)