NFC South fares well in ratings game

Here in the NFC South, where we often talk about a perceived lack of national attention, we’ve got some evidence to the contrary.

The NFL sent out a list of the 20 most-watched programs of the fall television season. Nineteen of them were football games and a “Dancing with the Stars’’ episode was the only other show on the list. Two of the six top-rated shows were games involving an NFC South team – in both cases, the New Orleans Saints.

The Thanksgiving game between the Saints and Cowboys was the No. 1 show of the season with 31.9 million viewers. The season-opening game between the Saints and Vikings was No. 6 with 27.5 million viewers.

The league also released a list of the 15 most-watched shows on basic-cable television for all of 2010. Fourteen of them were ESPN Monday Night Football games and the other one was last season’s Pro Bowl.

The No. 1 show on the list was the Dec. 27 game between the Saints and the Falcons with 19.1 million viewers. The Sept. 20 game between the Saints and 49ers was No. 7 with 15.1 million viewers.