Big night for big four networks

Sunday shows produce solid numbers

The first Sunday in November produced some impressive ratings at the major nets, with a hefty football overrun helping “The Amazing Race” start well for CBS, while ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” remained the night’s top entertainment series and Fox’s animated laffers shone as well.

Top program of the day, though, actually began late in the afternoon. In Nielsen’s metered markets, the NFL contest between the undefeated New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts averaged a monster 22.5 household rating/39 share from 4:15 to 7:27 p.m. ET — the highest score for an afternoon regular-season NFL game in at least 20 years.

The previous highest overnight rating since 1987 came in 1996 when a Dallas-San Francisco contest on Fox averaged a 22.2/41.

Reliable total-viewer figures won’t be released by Nielsen until today, but affiliate-based prelim numbers suggest that the game’s final 27 minutes (kicking off primetime) should come in with perhaps a 14 rating in 18-49 and more than 35 million viewers overall.

The big pigskin numbers lifted “60 Minutes” (roughly 5.0/12 in 18-49, 18.8 million viewers), as the newsmag logged its best demo score in nearly two years. “Amazing Race” came on 30 minutes later than scheduled in most of the country but had a strong opening, including its best demos for a preem (roughly 4.2/9) since the eighth edition’s launch in September 2005 and its largest overall aud (13.8 million) for any of its 12 premieres to date.

Also for CBS, “Cold Case” scored roughly a 3.4/8 in 18-49 and 13.7 million viewers overall, while “Shark” looks to come in with about a 2.3/7 in 18-49 and 10.9 million viewers.

Elsewhere, NBC appears to have edged out CBS to win the night in the 18-49 demo with its “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Though it turned into a lopsided Cowboys victory, the game is expected to garner roughly a 6.3 rating/16 share in 18-49 and 15.3 million viewers overall from 8:25 to 11:15 p.m. ET.

At Fox, the annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode of “The Simpsons” produced a strong 5.7 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 11.7 million viewers. It won the 8 o’clock half-hour in 18-49 and younger demos with the show’s best scores in about four years.

A “Family Guy” special at 8:30 p.m. held on to most of that aud (prelim 5.3/12 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers), and the show’s 100th episode was strong at 9 (5.4/12 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers). Net then dropped off at 9:30 with “American Dad” (3.6/8 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers).

ABC opened with a NASCAR overrun and “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” which combined for a 2.7/7 in 18-49 and 8.4 million viewers from 7 to 8. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (prelim 4.7/11 in 18-49 and 13.1 million) remained potent despite stronger competish in its 8 o’clock hour, and “Desperate Housewives” (roughly 7.0/16 in 18-49, 18.6 million) won at 9 and stood as the night’s top show in 18-49. “Brothers & Sisters” closed things out with about a 4.5/13 in the demo and 12.1 million.

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