Colts-Games delivers fifth best overnight score for 'SNF'

NBC dominated the final night before the start of the television season as its “Sunday Night Football” matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants crushed its mostly repeat competition and logged one of the franchise’s best-ever ratings.

It’s a testament to just how popular the NFL is today that Sunday’s 38-14 victory by the Colts — a game whose 24-0 halftime score invited early tune-out — delivered the fifth best overnight score since “SNF” began on NBC in 2006. The game’s 15.2 overnight household rating is actually a 3% improvement over the 14.7 that the same teams generated in Week 1 of the 2006 season, a 26-21 Colts victory.

That week 1 game in 2006 was the first time the Manning brothers — Peyton of the Colts and Eli of the Giants — battled each other in an NFL game, and Sunday’s contest was the second. The 2006 matchup ended up averaging an 8.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 22.6 million viewers overall, and last night’s game should be in that ballpark when nationals are issued Tuesday.

There wasn’t much else happening on the night, although this coming Sunday will see the season premieres of the night’s top shows, including “Undercover Boss” on CBS, “Desperate Housewives” on ABC and “Family Guy” on Fox.

CBS opened the night with a lot of traction, likely averaging better than a 9 demo rating and more than 25 million viewers overall in the 7 o’clock half-hour with the conclusion of the NFL game between the New York Jets and New England Patriots. The net then switched to the conclusion of the overtime Houston-Washington contest, with “60 Minutes” getting on the air around 7:40 p.m. in the East.

Estimates for the CBS series programming are very sketchy, but “60 Minutes” should come in at about a 4.0 rating in 18-49 and more than 15 million viewers overall. It was followed by repeats of “Undercover Boss” (averaging roughly 2.4/6 in 18-49 and 8.5 million viewers overall) and a repeat of “CSI: Miami” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall).

Fox aired repeats of its animated comedies “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy,” with the former averaging a 2.2/6 in 18-49 and 4.8 million viewers overall in its regular 8 p.m. slot, and “Family Guy” peaking at 9:30 (2.5/6 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall).

ABC struggled to get anything going with its repeats of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) and the final two hours of original scripted drama “The Gates” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 6.7/18; CBS, 3.5/10; Fox, 2.0/5; ABC, 1.1/3; Univision, 1.0/3

In total viewers: NBC, 17.0 million, CBS, 12.2 million; Fox, 4.4 million; ABC, 4.2 million; Univision, 2.7 million.

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