NBC wins night with Patriots-Steelers

As it has for all 10 weeks of the football season, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” crushed the competition on Sunday with New England-Pittsburgh NFL matchup . A football-boosted lead-in helped Fox’s “The Simpsons” stand as the night’s No. 1 series among young adults.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the New England Patriots’ 39-26 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers averaged a 7.3 rating/18 share in adults 18-49 and 19 million viewers overall on NBC’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with the game’s national averages expected to rise and soar above last week’s delivery for the Green Bay-Dallas contest. “Sunday Night Football” remains the season’s No. 1 primetime program in all key demos and is tracking at its best season average to date.

In metered-market overnights, the game earned a 14.2 household rating/22 share — tying as the No. 4-rated “SNF” game for NBC this season. The Pittsburgh market earned the top local score with a 49.2/64, with Boston second at 37.0/54.

Elsewhere, Fox ruled the night’s opening hour with its own football action, including the end of its late-afternoon games followed by postgame show “The OT.” That led into improved numbers for 8 p.m. comedy “The Simpsons” (3.9/10 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall), Sunday’s top-rated entertainment series among adults 18-49 and all younger demos. Also up was 8:30 p.m. entry “The Cleveland Show” (3.1/7 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), while both “Family Guy” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” (2.6/6 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) were down week to week.

ABC opened with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), followed by below-average results for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.2/5 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall) and “Desperate Housewives” (3.7/9 in 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall), though the latter was the night’s No. 1 entertainment series in adults 25-54 (4.5/10) and total viewers. And at 10, “Brothers and Sisters” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) matched its delivery of the previous week.

CBS, without a national football lead-in, was below par with its lineup of “60 Minutes” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 12.1 million viewers overall), “The Amazing Race” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall), “Undercover Boss” (2.7/6 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall) and “CSI: Miami” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 10. 4 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 5.9/15; Fox, 4.5/11; ABC, 2.5/6; CBS, 2.4/6; Univision, 1.3/3.

In total viewers: NBC, 15.6 million; CBS, 10.9 million; Fox, 9.4 million; ABC, 9.0 million; Univision, 3.3 million.

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