Weekly Ratings: Pair of NFL Games Lift NBC to Easy Victory

Sunday Night Football Advertising C3 Television

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” finished fall atop the program rankings last week but a pair of NFL contests lifted NBC to an easy primetime ratings victory. The Peacock dominated in all key demos and even beat CBS in total viewers.

“Walking Dead’s” final firstrun episode until February averaged a big 7.6 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 14.81 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen — the zombie drama’s best-ever fall finale ratings but a ways below its most recent season premiere in October (8.7 in 18-49, 17.29 million).

Finishing close behind were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” (7.4/19 in 18-49, 21.11 million viewers overall for Denver-Kansas City) and the net’s annual Thanksgiving night game (7.4/26 in 18-49, 22.85 million viewers overall for Seattle-San Francisco), with the latter ruling as the week’s most-watched primetime program overall.

(These weren’t the week’s top NFL games, though, as afternoon games on both days fared better than the evening NBC contests. Fox pulled 32.03 million and a 10.3 rating in 18-49 for its Turkey Day contest between Dallas and Philadelphia, and CBS netted 30.88 million and a 9.7 in the demo for its New England-Green Bay matchup on Sunday.)

ESPN had two football games among the week’s top 10 programs, with Saturday’s Auburn-Alabama matchup (4.3/13 in 18-49, 13.53 million viewers overall) outrating “Monday Night Football” (3.8/11 in 18-49, 10.87 million viewers overall for Baltimore-New Orleans).

CBS’ “60 Minutes” hit two-year highs in some categories (3.7/10 in 18-49, 18.36 million viewers overall), boosted by the massively rated final half-hour of the Patriots-Packers game (11.2 rating in 18-49, 36.2 million total viewers). It ranked sixth among the week’s top primetime programs in 18-49, and No. 1 among non-sports primetime programs in total viewers.

Another news program, the 10 o’clock hour of “CNN Tonight” on Monday, was another rare entry in the week’s demo top 10 (3.5/11) as auds tuned in to see coverage of the Ferguson decision.

A standout on the entertainment side last week was ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” which had a surprisingly strong finishing kick Tuesday (3.0/9 in 18-49, 15.98 million viewers overall) — rising vs. its year ago finale by 24% in 18-49 and by 1.2 million total viewers. In fact, this was this was the best single telecast for the show since its fall 2013 premiere (which was before the start of the TV season and opposite soft competition).

Of note in cable was Hallmark Channel’s original movie “Christmas Under Wraps,” which averaged 5.75 million viewers on Saturday to become the network’s most-watched telecast ever. It was the week’s second most popular scripted program on cable, behind “The Walking Dead.”


(Week 10: Nov. 24-30, 2014)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
NBC                    2.9/9
CBS                     1.8/6
ABC                     1.4/4
Fox                      1.1/3
Univision             1.0/3
CW                      0.6/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
NBC                     9.63
CBS                      9.26
ABC                     6.91
ESPN                  4.51
Fox                      3.19
Univision              2.66
Hallmark             2.06
CW                      1.71
ION                     1.22

(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 7.6/19
2.  NFL Thursday Special: Seattle-San Francisco (NBC), 7.4/26
2.  NFL Sunday Night Football: Denver-Kansas City (NBC), 7.4/19
4.  College football: Auburn-Alabama (ESPN), 4.3/13
5.  NFL Monday Night Football: Baltimore-New Orleans (ESPN), 3.8/11
6.  60 Minutes (CBS), 3.7/10
7.  CNN Tonight-Monday 10 p.m. (CNN), 3.5/11
8.  Talking Dead (AMC), 3.3/9
9.  Dancing With the Stars finale-Tuesday (ABC), 3.0/9
10.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 2.6/7
11.  NCIS (CBS), 2.5/8
11.  Dancing With the Stars-Monday (ABC), 2.5/7
13.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 2.3/7
13.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.3/7
13.  Gotham (Fox), 2.3/7
16.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.2/7
16.  A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (ABC), 2.2/7
18.  Survivor (CBS), 2.1/7
18.  Once Upon a Time (ABC), 2.1/5
20.  Dancing With the Stars: Road to the Finals (ABC), 1.9/6
20.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 1.9/5

Total Viewers
1.  NFL Thursday Special: Seattle-San Francisco (NBC), 22.85
2.  NFL Sunday Night Football: Denver-Kansas City (NBC), 21.11
3.  60 Minutes (CBS), 18.36
4.  NCIS (CBS), 16.01
5.  Dancing With the Stars finale-Tuesday (ABC), 15.98
6.  Dancing With the Stars-Monday (ABC), 14.87
7.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 14.47
8.  College football: Auburn-Alabama (ESPN), 13.53
9.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 13.24
10.  Dancing With the Stars: Road to the Finals (ABC), 11.31
11.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 11.01
12.  The Mentalist (CBS), 10.90
13.  NFL Monday Night Football: Baltimore-New Orleans (ESPN), 10.87
14.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 9.60
15.  Castle (ABC), 9.55
16.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 9.37
17.  Scorpion (CBS), 9.27
18.  Person of Interest (CBS), 9.04
19.  Survivor (CBS), 8.90
20.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 8.82

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