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Weekly Ratings: ABC Family, Hallmark Score With Holiday Fare; NBC Rules Again in Demos

CBS perked up some with three-month highs for “The Big Bang Theory” and a solid return by “Undercover Boss,” but NBC remained the dominant network in primetime last week thanks to the concluding nights of “The Voice” and an Adele special. Of note on cable, meanwhile, both ABC Family and Hallmark Channel had good showings with holiday programming in the final full week before Christmas.

ABC Family, which is on pace to finish 2015 as the top-rated primetime cable network in women 18-34 for a second straight year, led all cable entertainment networks in this demo for a third straight week (averaging 292,000 in this demo), according to Nielsen. It also finished on top in women 18-49 (569,000) and women 25-54 (517,000).

The network’s most-watched programs last week were classic Christmas movies “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (2.71 million) and “Elf” (2.52 million), airing back-to-back on Sunday night. Its “25 Days of Christmas” event, now in its 18th year, is posting across-the-board ratings increases and is having its second best showing ever in women 18-34 and females 12-34 and its third best in total viewers, adults 18-34 and other categories.

Over at Hallmark Channel, the premiere of original movie “A Christmas Melody” (starring and directed by Mariah Carey) drew 3.94 million viewers on Saturday, and was followed up Sunday by 4.24 million for the debut of “Christmas Land.” They helped boost the network to a No. 1 primetime finish among cable entertainment networks for the week in total viewers (2.1 million) and to a second-place finish (behind ABC Family) in women 25-54.

Collectively, the 17 new “Countdown to Christmas” holiday premiere this year averaged a 3.0 household rating and reached more than 26.3 million unduplicated viewers, according to the network.

NBC, meanwhile, led all of television in adults 18-49 for the 12th time in 13 weeks this fall and also prevailed in adults 25-54, with “Sunday Night Football” topping primetime (6.1/19 in 18-49, 18.11 million viewers overall) despite hitting a season low. For the season, the network’s 17% advantage over runner-up CBS is the largest for any network at this point in the season in 13 years.

The Peacock had a strong start to the week Monday with “The Voice” (3.2/10 in 18-49, 14.03 million viewers overall) and “Adele Live in New York” (3.0/10 in 18-49, 11.27 million viewers overall). The former shot up an impressive 14% in 18-49 vs. the same night a year ago, and the latter became the highest-rated Big Four music special in 10 years. The reality show then finished its season on Tuesday (2.9/9 in 18-49, 12.69 million viewers overall), giving NBC three of the week’s top four entertainment programs in 18-49.

“Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” featuring President Obama as the celebrity participant, did nothing-special numbers on Thursday (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.55 million viewers overall), though it did build on its repeat lead-in by 50%. Also, the “live plus-3” lift in total viewers (907,000) was “Running Wild’s” highest ever, and its L+3 total of 4.46 million viewers topped the total of the show’s prior 11 episodes dating back to August 2014.

At CBS, a key advancement in the Amy-Sheldon storyline helped boost viewership for Thursday’s “The Big Bang Theory” (4.1/16 in 18-49, 17.23 million viewers overall). The veteran comedy drew its top scores since its season premiere, and stood as the week’s No. 1 entertainment program in both demos and total viewers. (It also picked up 5.77 million viewers in Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates, and its 23 million total viewers is the largest for any primetime entertainment program this fall — and the show’s largest since January 2014.)

In addition to “Big Bang,” CBS also popped Thursday with best-since-premiere numbers for “Life in Pieces” (2.2/8 in 18-49, 10.26 million) and season-high total-viewer tallies for the night’s “Mom” (8.95 million), “2 Broke Girls” (6.92 million) and “Elementary” (5.91 million). One night earlier, “Survivor” wrapped its 31st edition with solid scores (2.2/8 in 18-49, 9.45 million), down a bit from last year but still potent enough to win its two-hour timeslot, and Sunday saw a nice return for “Undercover Boss” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.51 million viewers overall), which came within a tenth of its year-ago opener.

For the week, CBS led all network in total viewers and could claim the nine most-watched dramas, led by “NCIS” (15.53 million).

Last week also featured the final presidential primary debates of 2015, with CNN drawing 18.16 million for the Republicans on Tuesday — the largest audience for any primetime program during the Dec. 14-20 frame — and ABC attracting 8.03 million for the Democrats on Saturday. CNN claimed three of the year’s four most-watched debates, led by its first Republican get-together in September (23.06 million).


(Dec. 14-20, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
NBC ………………….  2.0/7
CBS ………………….  1.8/6
ABC ………………….  1.0/3
Fox …………………..  0.9/3
ESPN ………………..  0.8/2
FAM ………………….  0.7/2
UNI …………………..  0.7/2
TBS …………………..  0.6/2
TEL …………………..  0.6/2
NFLN ………………..  0.6/2
CNN …………………  0.6/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS ………………….  8.87
NBC …………………  7.71
ABC …………………  4.61
Fox …………………..  2.94
CNN …………………  2.74
ESPN ……………….  2.41
HALL ………………..  2.10
FAM …………………  1.98
UNI ………………….  1.84
TEL ………………….  1.52

(Dec. 14-20, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
1.  Sunday Night Football: Arizona-Philadelphia (NBC), 6.1/19
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.1/16
3.  Nevada Republican Debate (CNN), 3.8/13
3.  Monday Night Football: NY Giants-Miami (ESPN), 3.8/13
5.  The Voice (NBC), 3.2/10
6.  Adele Live in New York (NBC), 3.0/10
7.  The Voice finale-Tuesday (NBC), 2.9/9
8.  60 Minutes (CBS), 2.7/9
9.  Thursday Night Football – Saturday Special: NY Jets-Dallas (NFLN), 2.4/9
10.  Life in Pieces (CBS), 2.2/8
10.  Survivor (CBS), 2.2/8
12.  NCIS (CBS), 2.1/7
13.  Thursday Night Football: Tampa Bay-St. Louis (NFLN), 2.0/7
14.  Scorpion (CBS), 1.8/6
14.  Mom (CBS), 1.8/6
14.  The Voice recap-Tuesday (NBC), 1.8/6
17.  Survivor reunion (CBS), 1.7/6
17.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 1.7/5
19.  Undercover Boss (CBS), 1.6/5
19.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 1.6/6
19.  Miss Universe Pageant (Fox), 1.6/5

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  Nevada Republican Debate (CNN), 18.16 
2.  Sunday Night Football: Arizona-Philadelphia (NBC), 18.11
3.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 17.22
4.  NCIS (CBS), 15.53
5.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 14.03
6.  60 Minutes (CBS), 12.70
7.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 12.69
8.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 12.09
9.  Monday Night Football: NY Giants-Miami (ESPN), 11.55
10.  Adele Live in New York (NBC), 11.27
11.  Life in Pieces (CBS), 10.26
12.  Survivor (CBS), 9.45
13.  Scorpion (CBS), 9.28
14.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 9.22
15.   Thursday Night Football – Saturday Special: NY Jets-Dallas (NFLN), 9.10
16.  Mom (CBS), 8.95
17.  The Voice recap-Tuesday (NBC), 8.47
18.  New Hampshire Democratic Debate (ABC), 8.03
19.  Undercover Boss (CBS), 7.51
20.  Supergirl (CBS), 7.27

Source: Nielsen (each 18-49 ratings point represents roughly 1.27 million viewers)


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