Sunday Ratings: Football Rules Early, Late; Fox’s ‘Miss Universe’ OK, But Down From Prior Airing

Broncos Steelers NFl ratings
AP Photo/Fred Vuich

NFL action dominated primetime on Sunday, with the end of the Denver-Pittsburgh game boosting CBS early and NBC rolling the rest of the way even with a below-average “Sunday Night Football.” Meanwhile, the Miss Universe Pageant did solid numbers for Fox in its first appearance on the network but was down from its most recent edition.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen,  Fox’s “Miss Universe Pageant” averaged a 1.7/5 in 18-49 and 6.2 million viewers from 7 to 10 p.m., with these numbers subject to revision in the finals due to late-running NFL games included in the network’s averages for the opening half-hour of primetime. “Miss Universe” was airing on Fox for the first time after a dozen years on NBC, and was down from the prior edition in a higher-profile late-January slot earlier this year (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall from 8 to 11 p.m.).

WME/IMG acquired the Miss Universe organization from Donald Trump in the summer, following the messy breakup of the 12-year partnership between Trump, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, and NBC Universal in the beauty pageant business. Last night’s event, which made headlines when host Steve Harvey mistakingly announced the wrong winner, aired live in much of the country, from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

CBS crushed the competition from 7 to 8 p.m. ET with the conclusion of its NFL doubleheader game, which was the Denver Broncos against the Pittsburgh Steelers in most of the country. The game averaged a 6.4/22 in 18-49 and 23.7 million viewers overall on the network’s stations from 7 to 8 p.m., and these averages should spike in the finals. In the metered-market overnights, the game notched a 15.9 household rating/29 share, peaking with an 18.2/31 from 7:30 to 8 ET.

Numbers for CBS in primetime are murky due to football, but the net’s 8 p.m. programming (“60 Minutes” in much of the country) averaged a 2.6/8 in 18-49 and 11.8 million viewers overall. It was followed by a 1.4/4 in 18-49 and 6.9 million viewers overall in the 9 o’clock hour (the season premiere of “Undercover Boss” in much of the country). And in the 10 o’clock hour, “CSI: Cyber” averaged a 1.1/3 in 18-49 and 6.3 million viewers overall; if it holds in the finals, this would be the sophomore drama’s season high in 18-49.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles averaged a 5.5/17 in 18-49 and 15.9 million viewers overall on the network’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m.; even with an expected lift of 10% or more in the finals, this will be on the low for the franchise. The Cardinals’ 40-17 victory averaged an 11.7 household rating/19 share in the overnights, matching the season low set the last time the Cardinals appeared (against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 22.

ABC aired “The Sound of Music Sing-A-Long” from 7 to 11 p.m. (1.0/3 in 18-49, million viewers overall), down from last year’s 1.2/4 and 4.7 million.