While CBS continues to dominate its rivals in the early going this season, last week was also a big one for sports — especially football.
The matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” drew a franchise-record 25.67 million viewers and its demo rating (9.8% of the country’s adults under 50 were watching) more than doubled the score of any other primetime program for the week.
The big score for Brett Favre’s second trip to Green Bay, Wis., as a visiting player capped a week that saw sports account for six of the top 25 primetime programs in adults 18-49 — with ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” also cracking the top five and four of baseball’s League Championship Series (split between TBS and Fox) making the cut as well.
Sports won six of seven nights in adults 18-49, with the only entertainment lineup to win in key demos belonging CBS on Tuesday with its “NCIS” duo and “The Good Wife.”
The Eye, meanwhile, made it five straight victories in adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and total viewers — becoming the first network since NBC in 1997 to open in such dominant fashion.
According to Nielsen estimates that include same-night DVR playback, CBS won in adults 18-49 with a 2.9 rating/8 share, followed by NBC (2.7/8), ABC (2.5/7), Fox (2.4/7), Univision (1.7/5) and top cabler TBS (1.6/5).
And CBS prevailed by larger margins in both adults 25-54 (3.8/10 to 3.2/8 for NBC) and total viewers (11.6 million to 8.9 million for runner-up ABC).
In Nielsen’s most current season-to-date averages, CBS is even or up a hair vs. this point of the season a year ago. NBC is up 7% in 18-49 to rank second, while a declining ABC and Fox are tied for third and down 7% and 18%, respectively.
Last week, CBS claimed three of primetime’s top four entertainment series in adults 18-49, led by “Two and a Half Men” (4.4/11, 13.54m) and “NCIS” (4.3/12, 19.41m), which also ranked as the top two non-sports skeins in adults 25-54.
And the Eye continues to get the most production out of its rookie class, with its Monday comedy “Mike and Molly” the only newcomer to make the week’s top 25 in 18-49 (3.5/9, 10.90m).Also notable was its perf on Thursday, where “The Big Bang Theory” (4.1/12, 13.05m) stood as the night’s No. 1 show in 18-49 for the first time, and 9 p.m. drama “CSI” (3.4/9, 14.95m) had a strong outing, winning its hour in adults 25-54 for the first time this season (4.8/11) while drawing its largest overall audience since April. And in between, new 8:30 p.m. half-hour “Bleep My Dad Says” (3.1/9, 10.90m) continues to look good, ranking 26th for the week in 18-49 (and second among new shows).
At NBC, “Sunday Night Football” logged the largest overall aud since it bowed in 2006 and drew the largest primetime NFL aud in October since 1996. Through seven weeks, “SNF” the franchise is averaging 21.9 million viewers — about 15% better than last year’s 19.1 million at the same point.
The Peacock’s only other top 25 program for the week was Thursday comedy “The Office” (3.4/9, 6.87m), but it had some good news Wednesday when “Law and Order: Los Angeles” (2.4/7, 8.12m) bounced back from a shaky outing to reclaim the 10 p.m. drama lead in 18-49.
Among new shows, “The Event” isn’t doing great on Monday (2.2/5, 6.42m) but has emerged as the biggest DVR playback gainer (in percentage terms) among rookies. And sophomore family drama “Parenthood” (1.9/5, 4.87m) is also a big DVR fave, jumping more than 40% when comparing its same-night score to its full-week average.
At ABC, soph comedy “Modern Family” (4.7/13, 11.97m) finished as the top entertainment series in 18-49 for a third straight week as part of a growing Wednesday laffer block. Compared to the same week a year ago, the 8-10 p.m. comedies were up 25% in 18-49, with “Modern” rising 38%, “The Middle” (2.6/8, 8.54m) growing 30% and “Cougar Town” (3.1/8, 7.38m) holding steady.
The net was also repped in the top 10 by vets “Grey’s Anatomy” (4.0/11, 10.97m), “NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.9/10, 16.00m) and “Desperate Housewives” (3.9/9, 12.16m).
Fox, with “Glee” and its Sunday animated comedies airing in repeat, was led by “House” (3.6/10, 9.65m) and games of the National League Championship Series between San Francsico and Philadelphia on Thursday (3.5/10, 11.20m) and Saturday (3.4/11, 11.64m).
The NLCS, won by the Giants in six games, averaged 9.1 million viewers — the most for an NLCS since 2006 when the Cardinals defeated the Mets in seven games. TBS, which carried this year’s American League Championship Series between Texas and the Yankees, drew 8.2 million viewers, a 36% jump from a year ago.
Friday’s concluding sixth game of the ALCS drew this month’s best baseball numbers (3.7/13 in 18-49, 11.86m), helping TBS dominate cable for the week.
Elsewhere in cable, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game was below average (4.2/11 in 18-49, 9.67m) but still toppled the ALCS game that night on TBS (2.7/7, 8.21m).
Also, MTV’s “Jersey Shore” (3.1/9, 6.07m) wrapped its highly rated second season on Thursday by beating the 10 p.m. offerings on ABC, CBS and NBC among adults 18-49; the same net’s “Teen Mom” spec (2.1/5, 3.72m) beat dramas on ABC and NBC in 18-49; E! scored on a busy Sunday with “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” (2.2/6, 4.06m); Nick’s original movie “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf” drew a big 5.82 million viewers on Saturday; and a cume audience of more than 12 million watched at least some of TV Guide Network’s six-night, 30-hour marathon of comedy series “Weeds.”