‘Big Brother,’ Preseason Football Tops Among Broadcasters Sunday

ABC's family dancing special struggles

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On another Sunday where cable had plenty of worthy alternatives, the broadcast networks were paced in key demo categories by CBS reality veteran “Big Brother” and NBC’s preseason football game between the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers.

Preliminary estimates weren’t available for the night’s cable action, where top performers were expected to include the VMA Awards on MTV, “Breaking Bad” on AMC and the Dodgers-Red Sox baseball game on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”

According to preliminary Nielsens for the Big Four, NBC won the night with its exhibition NFL game, which averaged a 2.1 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 6.6 million viewers overall on the network’s stations from 8 to 11 p.m., with these numbers expected to rise in the nationals when the include all West Coast viewing. Opening the night for NBC was the special “Madden NFL Pigskin Pro-Am” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall), with these numbers possibly coming down a bit in the nationals.

Elsewhere, CBS claimed the night’s top broadcast program in 18-49 (at least in the prelims), as “Big Brother” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall) rose week to week. It was preceded by “60 Minutes” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall), which won its hour in 25-54 (1.8/6) and was the night’s No. 1 broadcast in total viewers. Closing the night for CBS were firstrun drama “Unforgettable” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), which was up from last week, and a repeat of “The Mentalist” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall).

Fox’s primetime in much of the country including a brief spillover from an NFL preseason game between New Orleans and Houston, and the game artificially inflated the preliminary result for “American Dad” at 7 p.m. (1.6/6 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall). The net stuck with animated comedy repeats the rest of the way too, with “The Simpsons” at both 7:30 (1.0/4 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall) and 8 (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), “Bob’s Burgers” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” at both 9 (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall) and 9:30 (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall).

ABC saw its best numbers on a sluggish Sunday with a repeat of old reliable “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall). The network’s 8 p.m. special “Family Dance Off” fizzed (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall). It was followed at 9 p.m. by “Secret Millionaire” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall), which was down from its regular 8 p.m. timeslot score of last week, and a repeat of Monday drama “Castle” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 1.8/6; CBS, 1.4/4; Fox, 1.2/4; ABC, 0.8/2; Univision, 0.7/2; Telemundo, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 6.7 million; NBC, 6.0 million; ABC, 3.9 million; Fox, 3.0 million; Univision, 2.0 million; Telemundo, 1.2 million.