Net wins in 18-49; CBS catches rival for season in 25-54

Its top two shows will depart soon, but while “Sunday Night Football” and “The Voice” are still going strong, so is NBC.

The surprise ratings leader this fall, NBC won among adults 18-49 last week for the 10th time in 11 tries this season. It has four of the top six new shows in 18-49 and continues to track more than 20% ahead of a year ago, going from fourth to first in the process.

CBS, meanwhile, remains best positioned to eventually overtake the Peacock this winter. Last week, the balanced net claimed 11 of primetime’s top 25 shows in adults 18-49 — as many as NBC (four), Fox (four) and ABC (three) combined — and moved into a tie for the season with NBC in adults 25-54.

Overall, according to Nielsen estimates, NBC led in adults 18-49 with a 2.6 rating/7 share, with Fox (2.3/7) and CBS (2.3/6) tied for second. Univision (1.6/4) moved up to fourth, ahead of ABC (1.5/4).

NBC edged out CBS in adults 25-54 (3.1/8 to 3.0/7) while the Eye prevailed in total viewers for the 10th time in 11 weeks this fall (9.4 million to 7.8 million for NBC).

“Sunday Night Football” (7.8/19 in 18-49, 21.36m) was the week’s No. 1 primetime program, with the Packers-Lions game in the snow drawing the franchise’s largest aud in five weeks.

“The Voice” ranked in the top 10 both on Monday (3.9/10, 12.11m) and Tuesday (3.5/10, 11.52m), with the former leading into strong numbers for spec “Blake Shelton Christmas” (2.7/7, 8.88m). Tuesday’s seg led into “Go On” (2.4/7, 6.67m), which beat Fox’s “New Girl” (2.0/5, 4.10m) head-to-head in 18-49.

CBS got a boost from the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” (3.6/10, 9.48m), which ranked sixth in 18-49 and first in women 18-34 for the week (5.4/16) even if it was down from last year’s record highs. Another Tuesday special, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” shined brightly for another year (2.9/8, 10.11m), but Wednesday’s annual “Grammy Nomination Concert” continues to be a ratings laggard (1.5/4, 5.41m).

Thursday laffer “The Big Bang Theory” was the week’s No. 1 non-sports program (5.2/16, 16.94m) and remains the fall’s No. 1 entertainment series in 18-49.

At Fox, an NFL overrun helped propel “The Simpsons” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 7.44m) to above-average scores. And the net dominated Saturday in demos with UFC action (2.1/7, 4.39m)

ABC had a sluggish week without original segs of some top shows and soft scores for Monday’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” special (1.0/3, 4.42m).

Bright spots included improved numbers for the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” franchise with “Christmas With Holly” (1.8/5, 7.73m). And on Thursday, hot 10 p.m. drama “Scandal” surged to series highs (2.5/7, 7.39m), retaining a vastly improved 83% of its lead-in from a below-average “Grey’s Anatomy” (3.0/8, 9.10m) and beating CBS’ “Elementary” (2.1/6, 10.31m) head-to-head in 18-49 for the first time.

In cable, A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” had a big finale Wednesday (3.0/9 in 18-49, 6.45m), becoming the No. 1 telecast in the net’s history in all key categories. It also stood as TV’s No. 1 show for the night in 18-49, 18-34 (2.9/10) and men 18-49 (3.2/10).

FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” wrapped its season nicely (2.4/7 in 18-49, 4.66m), standing as TV’s top scripted series in 18-49 on Tuesday. Also staying strong was Discovery’s “Gold Rush” (1.9/5, 4.71m), which was TV’s top program in 18-49 and all male demos; airing behind it, “Jungle Gold” (1.2/4, 2.74m) was cable’s No. 2 show of the night in 18-49.

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” saw one of its strongest scores of the season (6.0/16 in 18-49, 16.21m for Giants-Redskins). And the net had a big Saturday with college football’s Heisman Trophy presentation (1.6/7, 4.90m) and ESPN Films doc “You Don’t Know Bo” (1.5/6, 3.60m); the latter became the top-rated film in the 30 for 30 series (besting “The Fab Five,” which drew 2.05 million in 2011).

ABC Family had the network’s biggest week ever in total viewers (2.9 million) and most key demos thanks to its 15th annual 25 Days of Christmas programming. And Disney Channel’s cross-over event “Austin & Jessie & Ally: All Star New Year” was the week’s No. 1 scripted cable program in total viewers (4.81 million).

Add it all up, and this marks the second straight week that Disney could claim three of cable’s most-watched networks in primetime (ESPN, ABC Family and Disney Channel).

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