TV Ratings: Cowboys-Vikings Puts Up Big ‘Thursday Night Football’ Numbers

UPDATED: Somewhere in an underground bunker, a team of scientists funded by the NFL and its media partners is likely attempting to find a way to clone the Dallas Cowboys so they can play in every primetime NFL game.

Thursday’s Cowboys-Vikings nailbiter, which aired on NBC and the NFL Network, drew a huge audience of 21.8 million viewers and a 12.8 household rating, making it the NFL’s most-watched Thursday night game. In earlier results, the game brought in a 14.1 household rating in Nielsen’s metered market overnights — the second-best overnight rating for a “Thursday Night Football” game. Thursday’s Cowboys win was a massive improvement over the overnights for the rest of this season’s “TNF” slate, which is averaging an 8.8 household rating when airing on a broadcast network and NFL Network.

(As a reminder, two of this season’s Thursday games — the season opener on Sept. 9 and the Thanksgiving night game last week — were technically part of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” package.)

From 8:30 to 11 p.m. on NBC, the game garnered an average audience of 16.1 million, and a 4.7 in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic.

Elsewhere on the channel guide:

The CW’s “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” capped off the network’s four-night crossover event with a second-highest-ever demo rating of 1.1 and a series-high 3.33 million viewers. “Supernatural” kept more of those viewers than usual, with a total viewership of 1.86 million and a 0.7 in the demo.

ABC was in full-on holiday programming mode. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” pulled in a 1.5 in the demo and 6.39 million viewers. The premiere of “The Great American Baking Show” with beloved former “Great British Bakeoff” host Mary Berry drew a 1.1 in the demo from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 4.61 million viewers.

On CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” came in with a 3.1 in the demo and 14.39 million viewers. “The Great Indoors” came in with a 1.4 and 7.09 million viewers. “Mom” drew a 1.3 and 6.98 million viewers. “Life in Pieces” drew a 1.2 and 6.3 million viewers. “Pure Genius” stayed low with a 0.8 and 4.79 million viewers.

On Fox, “Rosewood” drew a 0.7 in the demo and 3.13 million viewers. “Pitch” fared similarly, with a 0.7 and 2.37 million viewers.

As a reminder, many of these shows will see lifts of 50% or more once viewing within three and seven days is tallied. However, most of those gains won’t translate to the ratings networks guarantee advertisers.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content