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Big football finale for NBC

Cowboys-Giants crushes repeats on rival nets

NBC wrapped up its regular season ”Sunday Night Football” schedule with a doozy of a matchup, and the game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys delivered predictably strong ratings for the net.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the game to decide the NFC East division of the NFL averaged an 8.7 rating/21 share in adults 18-49 and 24.6 million viewers overall on NBC’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with the game’s final demo average expected to rise by more than 10%.

In metered-market overnights, the game did a big 17.1 household rating/27 share , a 36% improvement over last week’s final ”SNF” game between the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams (12.6/19), which decided the NFC West champion. The 17.1 is a smidge better than the 16.9 rating that the Cowboys-New York Jets game did on the opening Sunday of the season (translating to a 10.7 rating in 18-49 and 25.8 million viewers in the nationals).

The only NBC primetime, regular-season football telecasts to rate higher overnight scores were the Thursday season openers of the last two years: a 17.7 for Minnesota-New Orleans in 2010 and a 17.2 for Green Bay-New Orleans. Sunday’s game earned a 37.1/55 in Dallas and a 25.3/38 in New York.

Elsewhere, the other nets were scrambling for crumbs on a repeat-riddled night.

CBS, which had a sizable NFL overrun to start the night, aired an original episode of ”60 Minutes” (roughly 3.0/8 in 18-49, 14.2 million viewers overall from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.) followed by repeats of ”Unforgettable” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), ”The Good Wife” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) and ”CSI: Miami” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall).

Fox followed its football overrun with postgame show ”The OT” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall) and then encores of animated comedies ”The Simpsons” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall), ”The Cleveland Show” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), ”Family Guy” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) and ”American Dad” (1.4/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall).

ABC went with four repeats of Sunday rookie drama ”Once Upon a Time,” starting with a 0.8/2 in 18-49 and 3.4 million viewers overall

in the 7 o’clock hour and concluding with a 1.2/3 in the demo and 3.8 million viewers overall at 10 o’clock.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 7.0/18; CBS, 2.3/6; Fox, 1.6/4; ABC, 1.1/3; Univision, 0.9/2.

In total viewers: NBC, 20.2 million; CBS, 10.8 million; Fox, 3.9 million; ABC, 3.8 million; Univision, 2.7 million.

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