NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” reclaimed its spot as the top-rated program of the night, with its Cowboys-Giants matchup producing the franchise’s best ratings in five weeks and contributing to year-over-year declines for ABC’s telecast of the American Music Awards.
CBS, meanwhile, benefited from a huge NFL overrun at the outset of primetime, which lifted “60 Minutes” to season highs and helped “Madam Secretary” score some of its best numbers to date, while Fox had a weak night with its comedy block.
In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, the Dallas Cowboys’ 31-28 victory averaged a 14.0 household rating/22 share, peaking with a 15.3/29 from 11:30-11:45 p.m. ET when Dallas scored the winning touchdown. This is the top overnight for “SNF” since Oct. 19.
“Sunday Night Football” is expected to stand as the No. 1 program of the night in adults 18-49 after losing that honor four times this fall to AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” On NBC’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., the game averaged a 7.1 rating/18 share in adults 18-49 and 19.8 million viewers overall — with these numbers expected to rise in the vicinity of 15% in the nationals.
Elsewhere, CBS’ primetime opened with the conclusion of the NFL game between Miami and Denver (and Washington-San Francisco in some markets), which averaged a big 17.4/31 in the overnights. The only CBS window to rate higher this season was the Denver-New England game on Nov. 2 (18.6/32).
Numbers for the net’s Sunday series are subject to revision due to football, but “60 Minutes” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 18.4 million viewers overall) appears to be at a season high, and “Madam Secretary” was above average at 8:30 p.m.(1.8/5 in 18-49, 12.6 million viewers overall). “The Good Wife” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 10.1 million viewers overall) and “CSI” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall) were about average.
ABC opened with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), which was a bit below its demo score of the previous two weeks but hit a 50-week high in total viewers.
It was followed by the 2014 American Music Awards (3.8/10 in 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall), which were down about 15% from last year (4.5/11 in the demo, 13.14 million viewers overall) but above the 2012 scores (3.4/8, 9.52 million). These are the Alphabet’s best ratings in the Sunday 8-11 p.m. time period since the Oscars in March.
Fox, on a non-NFL doubleheader day and without an original “Family Guy,” was a non-factor on the night. Following the time-period premiere of “Mulaney” at 7:30 p.m. (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall), “The Simpsons” plunged to season lows (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall). “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” was also at a season low at 8:30 p.m. (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall), but continues to show good retention of its lead-in. The net aired yet another “Family Guy” repeat at 9 p.m. (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall), followed by “Bob’s Burgers” (season-low 0.9/2 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall).