Football helps NBC win Sunday night

Fox's toons bring ratings consistency for second place

With the NFL behind it to pump up ratings and the competition in mostly rerun mode, NBC took home the Sunday ratings race fairly easily.

The 8-11 p.m. game between the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets drew a 2.9 rating/8 share in the 18-49 demo, with 8.8 million overall viewers, according to early estimates from Nielsen. Those are time zone-adjusted numbers, so they will likely increase when actual football viewership is calculated.

Also, expect football audiences to increase considerably once the regular season begins next week.

Lead-in hourlong special “Madden NFL 13: Pigskin Pro-Am” (1.4/5, 4.3) wasn’t strong enough, however, to capture the 7 o’clock timeslot. Fox toons “American Dad” (2.0/7, 5.3m) and “The Cleveland Show” (1.2/4, 2.8m) averaged a stronger rating over the hour than NBC.

The rest of the Fox lineup was quite consistent with repeats of “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” running between a 1.7-2.0 in the demo and about 4 million viewers.

Second highest-rated program after the Panthers-Jets game was CBS’ summer reality stalwart “Big Brother” (2.5/7, 7.3m). As it always has on Sundays, the Eye’s venerable newsmagazine “60 Minutes” (1.2/4, 8.4m) opened the night.

ABC wasn’t much of a factor. Alphabet ran reruns of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.2/4, 5.3m) as well as “Once Upon a Time” (0.8/2, 3.2m) and a two-hour “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” (0.8/2, 2.4m).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 2.5/7; Fox, 1.8/5; CBS, 1.4/4; ABC, 0.9/3; Univision, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: NBC, 7.6 million; CBS, 6.3 million; Fox, 4 million; ABC, 3.3 million; Univision, 2.3 million; CW, 1.3 million.