Football remains king of the night

A down-to-the wire game involving two teams from major markets has lifted NBC to another Sunday ratings victory in key demos, but CBS will come in a competitive second thanks to its football overrun and potent regular lineup.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers averaged a 5.7 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 14.2 million viewers overall on the net’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with the final numbers expected to rise by 15% or more in the nationals to stand as Sunday’s top-rated program for a fifth straight week.

The game earned an 11.7 overnight household rating, up 8% vs. last year’s Game 5 matchup between the smaller-market Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans (10.8).

Numbers for CBS are subject to significant revision in the nationals due to a nearly hourlong NFL overrun featuring the conclusion of the Tennessee-Dallas and Oakland-San Diego NFL contests. From 8 to 9 p.m., an hour that featured mostly “60 Minutes” averaged a 3.8/10 in 18-49 and 14.6 million viewers overall. It was followed at 9 p.m. with a 3.8/10 in 18-49 and 12.1 million viewers overall (for mostly “Amazing Race”) and a 3.5/9 in 18-49 and 11.9 million viewers overall from 10 to 11 p.m. for mostly “Undercover Boss.”

CBS had a healthy preliminary advantage over NBC for the night in total viewers, and likely will still win Sunday bragging rights when the nationals are released Tuesday.

At ABC, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.5/6 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) both were below par, leading into the lowest-rated firstrun fall episode to date for vet “Desperate Housewives” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall). And at 10, “Brothers and Sisters” held up a bit better (2.8/7 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall) but finished a distant third in its timeslot.

Fox was below average and its male-skewing animated lineup likely was affected most by facing both football and baseball (TBS aired an opening-round postseason game). “The Simpsons” opened things at 8 p.m. (3.0/8 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), followed by “The Cleveland Show” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall), top show “Family Guy” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” (2.5/6 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 4.7/13; CBS, 4.6/13; ABC, 2.6/7; Fox, 2.5/7; Univision, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 15.3 million; NBC, 11.9 million; ABC, 8.9 million; Fox, 5.4 million; Univision, 2.8 million.

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