Packers, Eagles contests beat out premieres

They call the Dallas Cowboys “America’s Team” for a reason: Whenever they’re on, America tunes in.

Last week, a pair of contests featuring the NFL team finished atop the standings, overshadowing season premieres on other nets, including Fox’s “House,” and the Primetime Emmy Awards on ABC.

NBC, which aired the Cowboys’ victory over the Green Bay Packers on “Sunday Night Football,” carried the week in most key ratings categories, logging its seventh consecutive victory — a stretch that started with the Beijing Olympics.

According to Nielsen estimates, the Peacock led in adults 18-49 with a 2.9 rating/8 share, followed closely by Fox (2.7/8), with CBS (2.1/6) and ABC (1.9/5) farther off the pace. Univision and ESPN tied for fifth (1.7/5), followed by CW (1.4/4).

NBC also led in adults 25-54 (3.3/9) and total viewers (8.31 million), but Fox had the edge among persons 12-34 (2.3/8).

Sunday’s Dallas-Green Bay game, a matchup pitting two of the league’s most storied teams, averaged a huge 9.0 rating/22 share in adults 18-49 and 22.23 million viewers overall — the second largest crowd since NBC started “Sunday Night Football” a little over two years ago.

Ranking second for the frame was the Cowboys’ earlier 41-37 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (7.8/21 in 18-49, 18.61m), which racked up the largest aud on record for a cable program.

Elsewhere for NBC, “The Biggest Loser” had a strong season premiere Tuesday with its two-hour families edition (3.2/9 in 18-49, 7.94m), which logged the franchise’s top fall scores in three years. And “America’s Got Talent” won its time period on both Wednesday (3.1/9, 12.24m) and Thursday (2.3/8, 10.03m).

Not looking so hot for the Peacock was “America’s Toughest Jobs,” which logged soft scores both on Monday (1.7/4 in 18-49, 4.92m) and in its intended fall slot on Friday (1.1/4, 3.20m).

At Fox, new drama “Fringe” (5.1/13 in 18-49, 13.27m) looked much healthier in its second episode (Daily Variety, Sept. 18), taking advantage of its lead-in from the season preem of “House” (5.6/16, 14.77m). Latter, now airing at 8 o’clock, was the week’s No. 1 scripted telecast.

The net isn’t doing much Mondays with “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.87m) or on Wednesday with the laffer combo of “Til Death” (1.9/5, 4.89m) and the new “Do Not Disturb” (1.5/4. 3.90m). But “Bones” is strong on Wednesday (3.3/10, 9.84m), and “Kitchen Nightmares” is performing pretty well on Thursday (2.8/8, 6.15m).

CBS was led by “60 Minutes” (3.3/9 in 18-49, 14.59m from 7:27 to 8:27 p.m.) as interviews with John McCain and Barack Obama drew the show’s best numbers since January, boosted by a hefty NFL overrun (9.4/30, 27.06 from 7 to 7:27 p.m.).

Also for the Eye, “Big Brother” wrapped its season with summer highs (2.7/7 in 18-49, 7.56m), as did “Flashpoint” (2.6/7, 9.67m), a rare scripted drama to earn a pickup following a summer rollout.

ABC’s coverage of the Primetime Emmy Awards (3.8/9 in 18-49, 12.34m) ranked fifth for the week in 18-49 despite a 12% falloff from last year’s Fox telecast. It posted lowest-yet numbers for the kudocast in all key demos, though it drew slightly more viewers than one other Emmys: the 1990 Fox telecast (12.30m).

At Univision, the finale of “Al Diablo Con Guapos” (Down With the Beautiful) averaged 6.78 million viewers on Friday and was television’s top-rated program of the night in adults 18-34 (3.6/12).

ESPN finished on top thanks not only to “Monday Night Football” but a strong college game on Saturday between LSU and Auburn (2.2/7 in 18-49, 5.56m).

Lifetime’s “Army Wives” had a strong showing on Sunday (1.8/4 in 18-49, 4.37m) despite facing the Emmys. In the 18-49 demo, it logged the same score as the season finale of TNT’s “The Closer” (1.8/4, 7.63m), which was the week’s most-watched cable series overall.

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