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Football tops, ‘Brother’ rises on Sunday

NBC's preseason pigskin opener down vs. last year

The return of ”Sunday Night Football” — albeit of the exhibition variety — lifted NBC to a primetime ratings victory on Sunday while CBS’ ”Big Brother” match or hit some summer highs for the night.

Reliable Nielsen preliminaries weren’t available for the NFL preseason matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers, but the game averaged a 3.0 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 8.9 million viewers overall on NBC’s stations from 8 to 11. This is down about 10% from the early score for last year’s comparable San Diego Chargers-Dallas Cowboys contest. Still, the Peacock comfortably won the night. The ”Sunday Night Football” opener is set for Sept. 9 when the Steelers take on the Denver Broncos, but NBC’s first game is a Wednesday special (Cowboys-New York Giants) on Sept. 5.

Elsewhere, CBS’ ”Big Brother” was the night’s top broadcast entertainment series, matching its summer high for a Sunday episode in adults 18-49 (2.3/7) and hitting a high in total viewers (8.9 million); it again built sharply in demos from its ”60 Minutes” lead-in (1.1/4 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall). Following ”Big Brother,” the net produced small numbers for encores of ”The Good Wife” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) and ”The Mentalist” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall).

Fox hung in there by double-pumping repeats of ”The Simpsons” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall at 8 and 1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.4 million at 8:30) and ”Family Guy” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall at 9 and 1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.0 million at 9:30). In the evening’s opening hour, the net aired repeats of ”American Dad” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall) and ”The Cleveland Show” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall).

At ABC, a repeat of ”America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) was followed by a repeat of ”Once Upon a Time” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) in its regular in-season timeslot. And from 9 to 11 p.m., ”Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) finished on an upswing.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 2.6/8; Fox, 1.4/4; CBS, 1.2/3; ABC and Univision, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: NBC, 8.1 million; CBS, 5.6 million; ABC, 3.7 million; Fox, 3.0 million; Univision, 2.7 million.

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