Ratings: Football Dominates First Week of December; NBC Tops Among Networks

With many of primetime’s top series either in repeat (“Big Bang Theory”) or wrapped for the fall (“Walking Dead,” “Scandal”), football dominated the weekly program rankings even more than usual last week.

Three NFL games and a college football conference championship game led the way in the adults 18-49 demo, beating out firstrun series offerings including “The Simpsons,” “Modern Family,” “The Voice” and “Sons of Anarchy.”

NBC closed the week strong with “Sunday Night Football” (7.1/20 in 18-49, 21.15 million viewers overall), which was the No. 1 primetime program in 18-49 as well as total viewers — the fourth straight week the franchise has topped 20 million viewers.

It was followed by ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets (4.1/13 in 18-49, 11.75 million viewers overall), NFL Network’s contest between the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears (3.2/10 in 18-49, 9.11 million viewers overall) and Saturday’s college football nailbiter on ABC between Florida State and Georgia Tech for the ACC Championship (3.1/11 in 18-49, 10.15 million viewers overall).

Most of the series that did air original episodes last week were on the low side, including season lows for “Modern Family” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 9.02 million viewers overall) and the rest of ABC’s comedy lineup as well as the Alphabet’s “Once Upon a Time” on Sunday (2.0/5, 6.20 million viewers overall). NBC’s “Constantine” tied its low on Friday (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.17 million viewers overall).

One major exception was CW’s crossover event featuring Greg Berlanti’s superhero shows “The Flash” on Tuesday (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.34 million viewers overall) and “Arrow” on Wednesday (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.92 million viewers overall). The former gave the net its most-watched December telecast in seven years, and the latter hit series highs in adults 18-49, adults 18-34 and all key male demos.

Also faring better relative to prior weeks were ABC’s Tuesday dramas “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.36 million viewers overall) and “Forever” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.17 million viewers overall).

ABC brought back timeslot place-holder “The Taste” on Thursday (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.33 million viewers overall), down 31% (0.4) from its year ago premiere and well below the 2.85 same-night 18-49 average for the hit shows it replaced in the 8-10 p.m. block, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”.

NBC’s telecast of “Peter Pan Live!” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 9.21 million viewers overall) may have paled in comparison to last year’s monster “The Sound of Music Live!” but it gave the net its second most-watched Thursday (excluding sports) since the “ER” finale in 2009 and it beat its rivals for the night.

Interestingly, “Peter Pan” did better than “Sound of Music” among kids 2-11 when three days of DVR playback is included (4.31 vs. 3.88). “Sound of Music” had done better in same-night kids viewing (3.05 vs. 2.67).

Also for the net, “State of Affairs” (1.6/5, 7.04 million viewers overall) bounced back 0.2 from its week-earlier second episode, which had the misfortune of being interrupted by a Presidential address in most of the country. In “Live plus 3” ratings, last week’s episode grew by 33% in 18-49 (1.69 to 2.24), up sharply from the 15% of the previous week (1.39 to 1.60).

Fox’s best ratings came Sunday following NFL coverage, including “The Simpsons” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 6.52 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (2.3/6 in 18-49,  4.44 million viewers overall). Airing behind a repeat “Gotham” on Monday for the first time, “Sleepy Hollow” had its fall finale (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.50 million viewers overall) and was on par with its prior six-week average.

TNT launched “The Librarians” to the best numbers of the calendar year for a cable series premiere in both adults 18-49 (1.3 rating) and total viewers (5.35 million). In the demo, the series based on a trilogy of “Librarian” movies that aired on the network slightly outperformed TNT’s “The Last Ship” and FX’s “The Strain,” both of which opened at 1.2 in the summer.

ABC Family had its best week ever in adults 18-34 (724,000 average in primetime), ranking No. 1 among cable networks in the demo as well as adults 18-49 (1.26 million) and all key female demos. Its 17th annual “25 Days of Christmas” event got off to a flying start, led by “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and two airings of “Elf.”

Discovery had a good week, capped by Sunday’s two-hour “Eaten Alive” special (1.8/5 in 18-49, 4.41 million viewers overall). The only non-sports cable program to rate higher was FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” on Tuesday (2.6/8 in 18-49, 5.05 million) with its penultimate episode.

Bravo scored Sunday with “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.06 million viewers overall), the night’s top cable series in the demo, while “The Millionaire Matchmaker” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.45 million) had its most-watched season premiere to date. In between, “Watch What Happens Live” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.45 million viewers overall), featuring the return of NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak Biermann, shot up about 50% from the previous week.And

On the scripted front, Bravo saw modest numbers for the premiere of “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce” (1.04 million), airing on Tuesday behind “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (1.99 million).

Also, Lifetime’s two-night movie “Red Tent” had a soft premiere Sunday (0.5/1 in 18-49, 2.37 million viewers overall).

 

WEEKLY PRIMETIME
NETWORK RANKINGS

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
NBC                  2.4/7
Fox                    1.9/6
ABC                   1.6/5
CBS                   1.3/4
UNI                   1.2/4
ABC Family       1.0/3
ESPN                0.9/3
CW                    0.7/2
USA                  0.6/2
TBS                   0.6/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
NBC                  8.73
CBS                   7.16
ABC                   6.47
Fox                    5.81
UNI                   2.97
ESPN                2.73
ABC Family       2.61
Hallmark           2.19
CW                    2.00
TNT                  1.92

 

WEEKLY PRIMETIME
PROGRAM AVERAGES

Adults 18-49
1.  NFL Sunday Night Football: New England-San Diego (NBC), 7.1/20
2.  NFL Monday Night Football: Miami-N.Y. Jets (ESPN), 4.1/13
3.  NFL Thursday Night Football: Dallas-Chicago (NFLN), 3.2/10
4.  College football ACC Championship: Florida State-Georgia Tech (ABC), 3.1/11
5.  The Simpsons (Fox), 2.9/8
6.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 2.8/8
6.  Modern Family (ABC), 2.8/8
8.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.6/8
8.  Sons of Anarchy (FX), 2.6/8
10.  Peter Pan Live! (NBC), 2.4/7
——
11.  Family Guy (Fox), 2.3/6
12.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 2.1/7
12.  Survivor (CBS), 2.1/6
12.  Black-ish (ABC), 2.1/6
12.  A Charlie Brown Christmas (ABC), 2.1/6
12.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox), 2.1/6
17.  Mom (CBS), 2.0/6
17.  Once Upon a Time (ABC), 2.0/5
19.  College football Pac-12 Championship: Oregon-Arizona (Fox), 1.9/7
19.  Christmas in Rockefeller Center (NBC), 1.9/6
19.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 1.9/6
19.  Toy Story That Time Forgot (ABC), 1.9/6
19.  Saturday Night Live Christmas-r (NBC), 1.9/6

Total Viewers
1.  NFL Sunday Night Football: New England-San Diego (NBC), 21.15
2.  NFL Monday Night Football: Miami-N.Y. Jets (ESPN), 11.75
3.  NCIS-r (CBS), 11.58
4.  60 Minutes (CBS), 11.48
5.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 11.28
6.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 11.23
7.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 10.62
8.  College football ACC Championship: Florida State-Georgia Tech (ABC), 10.15
9.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 9.64
10.  Christmas in Rockefeller Center (NBC), 9.52
——-
11.  Peter Pan Live! (NBC), 9.21
12.  NFL Thursday Night Football: Dallas-Chicago (NFLN), 9.11
13.  I Love Lucy Christmas Special-r (CBS), 9.06
14.  Modern Family (ABC), 9.02
15.  CMA Country Christmas (ABC), 8.90
16.  Survivor (CBS), 8.71
17.  The Mentalist (CBS), 8.70
18.  Mom (CBS), 8.61
19.  Castle (ABC), 8.45
20.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 8.10

 

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