ABC originals return to solid numbers

The finale of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was below its season average but strong nonetheless for the last game of the year, dominating a night that included original episodes of ABC’s regular lineup.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers averaged a 5.7 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 15.8 million viewers overall on NBC’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with its final numbers expected to rise by 10% or more.

In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, the game earned a 12.6 household rating/19 share – up 11% from last year’s finale (New York Jets-Cincinnati Bengals) and the best for the last game of the regular season since a Minnesota-Baltimore matchup on ABC in early January 2002. The game pulled a 38.7/53 in St. Louis and a 35.4/58 in Seattle, whose Seahawks won to advance to the playoffs this weekend.

Elsewhere, Fox ran second in demos thanks to a strong NFL overrun and post-game show. It then went with repeats of “The Simpsons” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall), “The Cleveland Show” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) and an hourlong “Family Guy” (2.6/6 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall).

ABC had a solid night with the first original episodes of the New Year for “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall), “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall), “Desperate Housewives” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 12.1 million viewers overall) and “Brothers and Sisters” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall).

CBS benefited from a football overrun of its own, leading into “60 Minutes” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 13.6 million viewers overall), “CSI: Miami” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall), “Undercover Boss” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall) and “CSI: Miami” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 5.1/13; Fox, 3.4/9; ABC, 2.7/7; CBS, 2.4/6; Univision, 0.7/2; CW, 0.5/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 14.3 million; CBS, 11.3 million; ABC, 9.4 million; Fox, 8.6 million; Univision, 1.8 million; CW, 1.5 million.

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