NBC’s Broncos-Colts Matchup Dominates Primetime Sunday

Peyton Manning's return to Indianapolis draws best October primetime rating in 15 years

Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis produced huge ratings for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which crushed everything on the night — including even AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

There wasn’t much else happening on the broadcast networks Sunday, with ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” tied a series low. The net’s “Betrayal,” though, staved off cancellation talk by rising week to week.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the Indianapolis Colts’ 39-33 victory over the Denver Broncos averaged a 9.5 rating/23 share in adults 18-49 and 25.9 million viewers overall from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with these averages expected to rise by 10% or more in the nationals. That will put it well ahead of the second week of this season’s “The Walking Dead,” which averaged a preliminary 7.1 rating in 18-49 — down from its monster 8.1 premiere score of last week but still the show’s No. 2 rating to date.

In metered-market overnight ratings, “Sunday Night Football” averaged a 17.3 household rating/29 share, putting it 48% above last year’s Week 7 game (11.7 for Pittsburgh-Cincinnati) and the fourth best for any regular-season NBC game since the network started its “SNF” package in 2006. The highest-rated game on NBC remains a Dallas-Washington matchup in Week 17 last year (18.3).

No October primetime game has rated higher in the overnights since a Green Bay-Minnesota contest on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” in 1998 (17.5).

In the local markets involved, Sunday’s game did similar ratings: a 49.6 rating/71 share in Denver and a 49.1/71 in Indianapolis — both “Sunday Night Football” records. Kansas City, whose Chiefs are a rival of the Broncos and are now the NFL’s only unbeaten team, drew the third best local-market rating (26.7/42).

Elsewhere Sunday, CBS followed a football overrun with “60 Minutes,” which averaged roughly a 3.2/9 in 18-49 and 14.9 million viewers overall to stand as the night’s most-watched non-sports program. From there, “The Amazing Race” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall) likely will finish up a bit from last week, as will “The Good Wife” (1.4/3 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall). And starting at 10:30 p.m. in the East, “The Mentalist” drew about a 1.3/3 in 18-49 and 7.9 million viewers overall.

At ABC, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) was on par with last week, but “Once Upon a Time” slid to a 2.0/5 in 18-49 and 7 million viewers overall for its series low. “Revenge” held up a bit better (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), in line with last week, while “Betrayal” remains low but was on the rise (0.9/2 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall), adding about 700,000 total viewers week to week.

Fox, which had to program knowing there could have been a seventh game of baseball’s ALCS on Sunday night, aired repeats of its animated comedies. “The Simpsons” averaged a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 3.2 million viewers overall at 8 p.m., followed by a second “Simpsons” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 7.8/20; CBS, 2.7/7; ABC, 1.4/4; Fox, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: NBC, 21.5 million; CBS, 12.3 million; ABC, 5.6 million; Fox, 2.7 million.

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