NBC wins night; sharp decline for 'Once Upon a Time'

Football was king on another Sunday, with Fox benefiting early from its lengthy overrun and NBC cruising late with “Sunday Night Football.” No scripted series did much, with ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” and “Revenge” at season-low levels.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, NBC won Sunday as the “Sunday Night Football” game between the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears averaged a 7.0 rating/17 share in adults 18-49 and 18.7 million viewers overall on the net’s stations from 8:30 to 11. When the nationals come in, the Texans’ 13-6 victory is expected to deliver about 21 million viewers.

In metered-market overnights, the game did a 13.7 household rating/21 share, the second best score in the last six weeks.

Numbers are murky for Fox’s animated comedies, as an overtime NFL game between the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers extended until about 8:20 p.m. ET and the entertainment lineup slid from there. “The Simpsons” averaged roughly a 2.8/7 in 18-49 and 5.8 million viewers overall in the 8:30 p.m. half-hour, followed by “Bob’s Burgers” (2.7/6 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (2.5/6 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall for the 9:30 p.m. half-hour only). Both “Simpsons” and “Family,” with the latter celebrating its 200th episode, are expected to edge up in the nationals.

It was a sluggish night for ABC, with football cutting into the numbers at 7 o’clock for “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), and “Once Upon a Time” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) showing a surprising week-to-week decline of about 20%. From there, “Revenge” was also down, by a lesser 11%, while “666 Park Avenue” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) was on par with its meager scores of last week.

Add it all up, and it was ABC’s weakest Sunday of the fall — and the dramas will all be preempted next week for the “American Music Awards.”

CBS was close to its averages for a non-football Sunday, starting with “60 Minutes” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall) and “The Amazing Race” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall). And from 9 to 11, “The Good Wife” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall) and “The Mentalist” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall) both matched their week-ago deliveries.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 5.5/14; Fox, 4.2/11; ABC, 2.0/5; CBS, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: NBC, 15.0 million; Fox, 11.2 million; CBS, 9.9 million; ABC, 6.6 million; Univision, 3.0 million.

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