‘Sunday Night Football’ Helps NBC Win Another Week in Demo

Peyton Manning Touchdown Record Ratings
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The overall network ratings picture hasn’t changed much in the early going this season, as NBC last week made it four straight primetime victories in adults 18-49 while CBS remained top dog in total viewers for a fourth straight time.

According to same-night Nielsen estimates for the week of Oct. 13-19, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” reclaimed the top spot in the “live plus same-day” program rankings, with its San Francisco-Denver NFL game — in which Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning set the career NFL touchdown passing record with its 509th career score in the second quarter — netting an 8.2 rating in adults 18-49. In its second week back, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” did a still-monster 7.7 rating.

The football game also ranked No. 1 in total viewers, while CBS claimed the week’s two most-watched scripted programs with its Tuesday combo of “NCIS” (17.26 million) and “NCIS: Los Angeles” (16.14 million).

Of note at NBC was a pretty good premiere for Tuesday’s “Marry Me” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 7.54 million viewers overall), which took advantage of its “The Voice” lead-in to deliver the top score for any comedy on the night since March comedy; the net then fell off with the second-season bow of “About a Boy” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.83 million viewers overall), which enjoyed a “Voice” lead-in during its rookie season.

One night later, “Mysteries of Laura” was on the rise (1.4/5 in 18-49, 8.67 million viewers overall) and “Chicago P.D.” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.78 million viewers overall) retained a best-yet 94% of its lead-in from “Law & Order: SVU” (1.7/5, 7.16m).

CBS saw ratings perk up for Friday’s “The Amazing Race” (1.4/6 in 18-49, 6.57 million viewers overall) as audiences may have taken a while to find it on it new night.

At ABC, Friday comedy “Cristela” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.99 million) held 92% of its premiere-week rating, and seems to make a good fit with “Last Man Standing” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 6.79 million).

After a string of low-rated college football games, ABC benefited from its first big “Saturday Night Football” matchup of the fall, as Florida State’s narrow victory over Notre Dame (4.2/15 in 18-49, 13.25 million viewers overall) became the most-watched college game on the network since November 2012. It also goes down as the biggest college football game on record (across all networks) to be played in October, a month typically dominated by baseball.

It remains slow going for Fox’s new shows (save “Gotham”), with Sunday comedy “Mulaney” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.25 million viewers overall) holding less than half the young-adult audience of lead-in “Family Guy” (2.5/6 in 18-49, 4.74 million).

CW’s “The Flash” stayed red hot in its second week (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.27 million viewers overall), and the net’s new Monday series “Jane the Virgin” had a decent bow (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.61 million), especially compared to how the net was faring in the night’s 9 o’clock hour last fall with “Beauty and the Beast.”

(Week of Oct. 13-19, 2014)

Adults 18-49
NBC                  2.6/8
ABC                  2.1/7
CBS                  2.1/7
Fox                   1.6/5
UNI                  1.1/3
ESPN               0.9/2
CW                   0.7/2
AMC                0.7/2
TBS                  0.7/2
ABC Family    0.6/1

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS                  10.50
NBC                   8.90
ABC                   7.93
Fox                    4.65
UNI                   2.86
ESPN                2.61
TBS                   2.04
CW                    1.87
USA                  1.76
Fox News        1.73

(Week of Oct. 13-19, 2014)

Adults 18-49
1.  Sunday Night Football: San Francisco-Denver (NBC), 8.2/23
2.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 7.7/21
3.  Thursday Night Football: N.Y. Jets-New England (CBS/NFLN), 5.4/17
4.  Monday Night Football: San Francisco-St. Louis (ESPN), 4.6/13
5.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.5/14
6.  Saturday Night College Football: Notre Dame-Florida State (ABC), 4.2/15
7.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 4.0/11
8.  The Simpsons (Fox), 3.6/10
9.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 3.4/11
10.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.4/10
11.  Scandal (ABC), 2.9/9
12.  How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), 2.8/9
12.  The Big Bang Theory, 8:30-r (CBS), 2.8/8
12.  The Blacklist (NBC), 2.8/8
15.  Once Upon a Time (ABC), 2.7/7
16.  The Talking Dead (AMC), 2.6/8
17.  NCIS (CBS), 2.5/8
17.  Black-ish (ABC), 2.5/7
17.  Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox), 2.5/7
17.  Family Guy (Fox), 2.5/7

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  Sunday Night Football: San Francisco-Denver (NBC), 23.79
2.  NCIS (CBS), 17.26
3.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 16.14
4.  Thursday Night Football: N.Y. Jets-New England (CBS/NFLN), 16.09
5.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 15.32
6.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 15.14
7.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 13.28
8.  Saturday Night College Football: Notre Dame-Florida State (ABC), 13.25
9.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 12.74
10.  Monday Night Football: San Francisco-St. Louis (ESPN), 12.71
11.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 12.34
12.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 12.28
13.  Scorpion (CBS), 11.51
14.  60 Minutes (CBS), 11.39
15.  The Big Bang Theory, 8:30-r (CBS), 11.38
16.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.90
17.  The Good Wife (CBS), 10.88
18.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 10.70
19.  Scandal (ABC), 9.91
20.  How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), 9.79


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  1. JimmyFitz says:

    Everyone wanted to see Peyton Manning break Brett Favres NFL Record of 509 Career TDs. Peyton was Game Day Ready!

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