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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.

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