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Football back big for NBC

Preseason game nabs 9.1 million viewers Sunday

NBC’s coverage of the first NFL preseason game of the season was easily the top-rated program in key demos on Sunday, a night that saw CBS continue to deliver good numbers for “Big Brother.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the “Hall of Fame” preseason NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals averaged a 3.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 9.1 million viewers overall on NBC’s stations from 8 to 11 p.m., with those numbers subject to revision in the nationals due to time zone differences. In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, the contest earned a 7.6 household rating/13 share — the best for any preseason NFL game on any network since 2004 (the Cowboys against the Tennessee Titans on ABC).

The game did a 25.6/40 in Cincinnati, a 22.4/38 in Dallas and a 17.0/26 in host city Dayton, Ohio.

Elsewhere, CBS put up a pretty good fight, opening with “60 Minutes” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall), the evening’s most-watched series telecast. It was followed by “Big Brother” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) — Sunday’s top broadcast entertainment series among young adults — and repeats of “Undercover Boss” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) and “Cold Case” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall). “Brother” drew its largest overall audience of the summer.

Fox aired repeats of its animated comedies, starting with “American Dad” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) and “The Simpsons” at a special time (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall). The regular 8 p.m. repeat of “The Simpsons” then rose to a 1.8/6 in 18-49 and 4.0 million viewers overall, and was followed by “The Cleveland Show” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” at both 9 (2.0/5 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and 9:30 (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall).

ABC, as per usual this summer, fared better with encores of alternative series “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) than with scripted original dramas “Scoundrels” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) and “The Gates” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 3.3/10; CBS and Fox, 1.6/5; ABC, 1.1/3; Univision, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: NBC, 9.1 million; CBS, 6.7 million; ABC, 4.3 million; Fox, 3.6 million; Univision, 1.5 million.

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