NBC, Fox top Sunday night

Sunday night was a big one for sports — especially in New York — with both NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and Fox’s coverage of the deciding game in baseball’s American League Championship Series dominating the action. Football appears to have won among young adults, while baseball drew a larger overall crowd.

According to preliminary nationals, the “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants averaged a 5.2 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 13.3 million viewers overall on NBC’s affiliates from 8:30 to 11 p.m., while the baseball contest between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels delivered a 4.8/12 in 18-49 and 14.0 million viewers overall on Fox’s affiliates from 8 to 11. Both games can expect to grow by roughly 10% in the nationals that are issued Tuesday by Nielsen.

It wasn’t close in New York, where the Yankees averaged a 25.9 household rating/38 share on Fox from 8 to 11 p.m., while the Giants earned a 9.1/13 on NBC from 8:30 to 11. The baseball game also delivered a very strong 21.2/30 in Philadelphia, whose Phillies will meet the Yankees in the World Series beginning Wednesday.

ABC was led by “Desperate Housewives” (4.6/11 in 18-49, 13.8 million viewers overall) and “Brothers & Sisters” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall), both of which were in line with their averages of the previous week. Earlier in the evening, the net was solid with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), which was up week to week, and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall).

At CBS, “60 Minutes” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall) opened the night with below-average numbers opposite the Fox football overrun, but “Amazing Race” (3.2/8 in 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall) built sharply on that lead-in among young adults. The net then fell off, though, with dramas “Three Rivers” (1.8/4 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall) and “Cold Case” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall).

Also of note in the ratings world was a strong Friday night premiere for 10 p.m. USA drama “White Collar,” whose 5.4 million viewers were the most for the network in its time period since the premiere of “Psych” in July 2006.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 5.9/15; NBC, 4.2/11; ABC, 3.3/8; CBS, 2.2/6; Univision, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 16.9 million; NBC, 11.0 million; ABC, 10.7 million; CBS, 10.0 million; Univision, 2.1 million.

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