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TV Ratings: ‘Sunday Night Football’ Dominates Steady ‘Miss America’

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” returned in a monster way last night, with its matchup between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys towering over all other programming, including ABC’s telecast of the Miss America pageant, which held up well opposite increased competition this year.

According to preliminary affiliate-based national estimates from Nielsen, NBC’s stations averaged a 9.2 rating/26 share in adults 18-49 and 24.5 million viewers overall from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with these numbers expected to rise by 10% or more in the nationals once the full duration of the game and all West Coast viewing are included. A year ago, the “SNF” opener between the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos averaged an 8.0 in the prelims and rose to a 9.0 in the nationals (and 23.7 million total viewers).

In Nielsen’s metered-market overnights, which are time zone-adjusted, last night’s 27-26 comeback victory by the Cowboys averaged a 16.7 household rating/28 share — up 11% from last year’s Week 1 game between the Colts and Broncos (15.1/25) and up a tick from the 2013 Cowboys-Giants opener on “Sunday Night Football” (16.6/27).

At ABC, encores of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (0.7/3 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) and “Shark Tank” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) were followed by the “Miss America” pageant (1.5/4 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall), which was on par with last year’s demo delivery in the prelims (1.5) and up a bit in total viewers (from 6.7 million). Last year’s event rose to a 1.68 demo rating in the nationals and about 7 million total viewers.

This year’s Miss America competition, which crowned Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell its winner, not only had to face stronger NFL competition this year but also had to do battle with AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” as well as U.S. Open men’s tennis action on ESPN, which was pushed into primetime by a rain delay.

The preliminary ratings for CBS are subject to change due to an NFL overrun in the opening half-hour of primetime in most of the country. From 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., “60 Minutes” did roughly a 2.8/9 in 18-49 and 11.1 million viewers overall, and was followed by “Big Brother” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.) and repeats of “Madam Secretary” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m.) and “CSI: Cyber” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall for the 10:30 p.m. half-hour).

Fox opened with encores of “Bob’s Burgers” at 7 (1.4/5 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) and 7:30 (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall), with the averages for the first half-hour inflated by NFL overruns in some markets. They were followed by repeats of “The Simpsons” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall), “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall).

Fox will have the NFL doubleheader next Sunday (anchored by the Cowboys against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 4:25 p.m. ET window), with the game providing a strong lead-in to its coverage of the Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Andy Samberg.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 7.6/23; CBS, 2.2/7; ABC, 1.2/4; Fox, 0.9/3;

In total viewers:

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