In a Thanksgiving frame that saw preemptions or lower-than-usual ratings for some of primetime’s biggest hits due to lower television usage, football ruled supreme.
Pigskin prevailed in key demos on four nights last week (Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday), with NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” matchup between Pittsburgh and Kansas City leading the way as usual (7.9/18 in adults 18-49, 20.34 million viewers overall).
And capping a Thursday full of football, NFL Network drew its largest Thanksgiving audience to date for the game featuring the first showdown in league history between head-coaching brothers: John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens and Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers (4.1/13, 10.68m).
Overall, CBS used a lengthy NFL overrun on Sunday to win the week across the board, including adults 18-49 (2.5/7 to 2.1/6 for runner-up ABC) and total viewers (9.8 million to 8.7 million for ABC).
On the entertainment series side, the week’s top-rated draws included CBS Monday comedies “Two and a Half Men” (5.2/13, 15.82m), “2 Broke Girls” (4.6/12, 11.33m) and “How I Met Your Mother” (4.4/12, 10.01m) as well as ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” finale on Tuesday (4.1/11, 19.56m) — down noticeably year to year but still the week’s most-watched non-sports program.
ABC also scored with “Modern Family” on Wednesday (4.6/13, 12.72m), though this Thanksgiving Eve original episode was well below its usual ratings level and could establish a DVR playback record when those full-week numbers are issued in a couple of weeks.
Sunday saw the fall finale of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (prelim 3.4/8 in 18-49, 6.6 million), which was up week to week for its second highest-rated episode to date. The zombie skein matched the demo score of the same night’s “Once Upon a Time” on ABC (3.4/8, 10.69m), which logged its lowest same-night demo delivery in its five airings to date but continues to stand as the season’s hottest new drama.
Also of note Sunday was a weak start for the Hallmark Hall of Fame on ABC, as the franchise that had aired exclusively on CBS for more than 15 years drew low ratings for the original presentation of “Mitch Albom’s Have a Little Faith” (1.1/2, 6.44m).
Among holiday specials, Fox fared best with its Thursday combo of “Ice Age Mammoth” (2.3/7, 7.10m) and “Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown” (1.6/5, 4.92m), while ABC did OK the same night with “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” (1.6/5, 5.49m).
And on Friday, CBS saw modest scores for the premieres of “Hoops & Yo-Yo Ruin Christmas” (0.8/3, 3.54m) and “Elf on a Shelf” (1.1/3, 4.18m).
Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the full page of TV ratings charts for the week of Nov. 21-27 will appear in Thursday’s paper.