Fox scores early, NBC late to top night

NBC has won another Sunday night in convincing fashion behind its Pittsburgh-Baltimore “Sunday Night Football” matchup, while Fox had a solid second-place showing thanks to its opening-hour NFL coverage.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, NBC’s stations averaged a 7.3 rating/18 share in adults 18-49 and 19.8 million viewers overall from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with the numbers for “SNF” expected to rise by at least 10% in the nationals and more than double the delivery of any entertainment series on Sunday.

In the metered-market overnights, the game averaged a 14.6 household rating/23 share — up 16% from the NBC Sunday night game between the teams about a year ago (12.6/20) and the sixth best overnight delivery of the season for “Sunday Night Football.” In Pittsburgh, the game earned a 54.4 rating/71 share, and in Baltimore it pulled a 47.6/65.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Fox ran second thanks in large part to an NFL overrun and postgame show that dominated the opening hour and beat its combined ABC-CBS-NBC competition. From there, “The Simpsons” was on the high side (4.2/11 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall), but the net drifted downward from there with an hourlong “The Cleveland Show” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” at 9:30 (2.5/6 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall).

CBS edged out ABC for third in 18-49, opening things with “60 Minutes” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall), whose numbers may be a bit inflated due to some NFL overrun in a handful of markets. The veteran newsmag was followed by “The Amazing Race” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall), “Undercover Boss” (2.7/6 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) and the 200th episode of “CSI: Miami” (2.5/6 in 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall).

At ABC, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” was competitive in the 7 o’clock hour (1.9/5 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall), showing a nice gain in its second half-hour as the Fox competition shifted from football game action to the post-game. At 8, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” continues to sag this season (2.2/6 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall), and is at least partially to blame for lower numbers as well for the net’s serialized dramas “Desperate Housewives” (3.5/8 in 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall) and “Brothers and Sisters” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall), which hit season lows with their first original episodes in three weeks.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 5.7/14; Fox, 4.6/12; CBS, 2.6/6; ABC, 2.5/6; Univision, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: NBC, 16.1 million; Fox, 11.6 million; CBS, 10.9 million; ABC, 8.7 million; Univision, 2.0 million.

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