Net wins in demo behind football, 'Office,' 'Sing'

The most-watched “Sunday Night Football” game to date and a strong start for reality competition series “The Sing Off” vaulted NBC to a rare primetime ratings victory among young adults last week.

In a frame in which some first-run series on other nets aired repeats, the Peacock also got a boost from an hourlong holiday episode of “The Office” and improved numbers for “The Biggest Loser,” holding off CBS for the lead among adults 18-49.

According to estimates from Nielsen that include same-night DVR playback, NBC earned its first victory of the season, with a 3.0 rating/9 share in the 18-49 demo. It was followed by CBS (2.6/7), ABC and Fox (2.0/6), ESPN (1.5/4) and Univision (1.4/4).

CBS edged out NBC for the week’s lead in adults 25-54 (3.5/9 vs. 3.4/9) and also prevailed in total viewers (10.5 million to 8.9 million for NBC) — the 11th time in 12 weeks this fall that the Eye has led in these categories.

Looking at NBC’s big week, the net was led as usual by “Sunday Night Football” (9.5/24 in 18-49, 25.73 million viewers overall), which finished well ahead of any other primetime telecast for the week — more than doubling the top scripted show in the demo, Fox’s “Glee” (4.4/13).

The back-and-forth game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys drew the largest audience in the five seasons of “SNF.” The franchise is so hot that it has been the No. 1 primetime telecast in 18-49 every week it has aired this season and this fall has accounted for five of the seven most-watched games since NBC took over the package in 2006.

On the entertainment side, the second season of limited-run alternative series “The Sing Off” was up 17% in 18-49 and 20% in total viewers vs. last year’s premiere week. Monday’s two-hour seg earned a 2.8/7 in 18-49 and 8.57 million viewers overall — the net’s best numbers in the 8-10 p.m. block since opening night — and Wednesday’s followed with similarly solid numbers (2.7/7, 7.64m).

In between, the penultimate episode of “The Biggest Loser” hit a season high (3.1/9, 8.23m), and on Thursday, an hourlong “The Office” (3.7/10, 7.18m) led its timeslot in 18-49.

Elsewhere, CBS benefited from a roughly half-hour NFL overrun that funneled about 33 million viewers into “60 Minutes” (3.9/10, 17.59m), which had its best 18-49 score since January. And it led into the finale of “The Amazing Race” (3.7/9, 12.12m), which hit a season high in total viewers.

Also, Eye comedies accounted for four of the week’s top 15 programs in 18-49, led by “Two and a Half Men” (4.2/10, 13.41m).

ABC was paced by “Modern Family” (4.2/11 in 18-49, 11.08m) and “Desperate Housewives” (3.6/8, 11.60m), and got good production out of a pair of Barbara Walters specs on Thursday, including the annual “10 Most Fascinating People” (3.2/9, 12.22m).

On the down side, limited-run series “Skating With the Stars” (0.8/2, 3.94m) continues to draw icy stares on Monday.

Fox struggled to get an audience for the inaugural “American Country Awards” on Monday (1.5/4, 5.98m), but could count on “Glee” (4.4/13, 11.07m) and “Family Guy” (3.9/9, 8.03m for its hourlong episode).

CW, up vs. the same week a year ago, was led by “The Vampire Diaries” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.16m) and “90210” (1.1/3, 2.18m), with the latter hitting a season high in women 18-34 (2.1/6). Also, Tuesday’s “One Tree Hill” (2.20 million) and “Life Unexpected” (1.73 million) drew their largest auds of the season.

On cable, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” drew one of the best scores of its season despite a blowout victory for the New England Patriots over the New York Jets (6.3/18, 16.53m), and the cabler also fared well Saturday with the Heisman Trophy presentation (1.4/5, 3.78m).

Other demo standouts included History’s “Pawn Stars” (1.9/5, 4.81m), USA’s “WWE Raw” (1.9/5, 5.00m) and MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” (1.5/4, 2.54m), with the latter cable’s top series draw of the week in adults 18-34 (2.4/8).

Also, the “President’s Challenge” episode of Discovery’s “Mythbusters” science series drew 2.24 million viewers on Wednesday and was cable’s No. 1 show of the night in key male demos.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more