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Ratings: Football on NBC, Fox Dominates Final Sunday of Year

The season finale of “Sunday Night Football” carried NBC to another easy primetime ratings victory last night, while Fox started the night like gangbusters with the concluding quarter of its late-afternoon NFL game.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the Week 17 matchup of the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers averaged a 5.8/17 in adults 18-49 and 18.4 million viewers overall on NBC’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., and these numbers figure to rise by at least 10% in the nationals to account for the full duration of the game and all viewing in the West.

In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, which are unaffected by time-zone differences, the game pulled a 12.7 household rating/21 share. It did a 47.2/67 in Pittsburgh and a 38.7/58 in Cincinnati (the highest ever for a “SNF” game in the market).

Fox aired the key NFC North battle between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, which drew 23.2 million viewers in the 7 o’clock half-hour (and figures to move well above 25 million in the nationals). Coverage of the game and post-game show “The OT” followed at 7:30 p.m. and that helped funnel viewers into a repeat “The Simpsons” at 8 (2.3/7 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall). The animated veteran was followed by repeats of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) and “Bob’s Burgers” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall).

CBS had a late national NFL game as well, but its primary game (Carolina-Atlanta for the NFC South championship) proved to be a lopsided contest and drew about one third the audience that Fox did in the night’s opening half-hour. The net aired all originals after the football action, with “60 Minutes” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 10.8 million viewers overall), “Undercover Boss” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall), “The Mentalist” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall).

This was the final Sunday episode of “Undercover Boss” before it moves into its regular Friday 8 p.m. slot this week.

ABC had a solid showing in the night’s opening hour with an encore of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) but fizzled from there with repeat hours of “Revenge” at 8 (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall), 9 (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall) and 10 (0.3/1 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall).

“Revenge” returns with originals starting next Sunday, a night that will also see the series premiere of musical comedy “Galavant” in the 8 o’clock hour for the Alphabet.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 4.7/14; Fox, 3.1/9; CBS, 1.7/5; Univision, 0.7/2; Telemundo, 0.5/2; ABC, 0.5/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 15.0 million; CBS, 9.3 million; Fox, 9.1 million; ABC, 2.8 million; Univision, 1.8 million; Telemundo, 1.2 million.

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