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TV Ratings: Cubs Tie World Series, Draw Biggest Game 6 Audience Since 1997

UPDATED: On Wednesday night, 176 years of combined championship drought will be resolved. The Chicago Cubs tied up the World Series on Tuesday in Cleveland, extending it to seven games, and in the process drew in a big ol’ audience of 23.4 million viewers, with a giant 6.6 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. Viewership peaked in the 9 p.m. hour, shortly after Cubs shortstop Addison Russell hit a grand slam in the third inning.

Game 6’s ratings are just under Sunday night’s Game 5, in which the Cubs avoided losing the Series to the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley. Game 5 hauled in 23.6 million viewers and a 6.7 rating in the demo.

Tuesday’s contest drew the biggest Game 6 audience since the last penultimate World Series game featuring Cleveland, 1997’s showdown with the Florida Marlins that drew a gaudy 23.74 million total viewers. Over six games, the Cubs-Cleveland World Series has been averaging 19.98 million total viewers, with an impressive 5.5 rating in the demo. That’s the biggest average audience since the 2004 Boston Red Sox-St. Louis Cardinals Series, in which Boston finally broke its own 86-year drought with a sweep. The 2004 series had an average audience of 25.39 million over four games.

The extra two games have likely put a smile on Fox execs’ faces. While it’s tough to gauge how much ad revenue a baseball game pulls in before it’s played — due to factors like number of innings and pitching changes, which both affect how many ad breaks there are — Games 6 and 7 will result in a windfall of at least tens of millions of dollars.

Elsewhere on the channel guide, in Nielsen’s preliminary ratings:

Coming out of a repeat of “The Voice,” NBC’s “This Is Us” fared pretty well, ticking down only a tenth to a 2.3 in the demo and 8.39 million viewers. “Chicago Fire” fell slightly to a 1.5 in the demo and 6.55 million viewers.

ABC’s Tuesday comedies were a mixed bag: “The Middle” was down a tick to a 1.4 in the demo and 5.38 million viewers, while “American Housewife” stayed steady with a 1.5 and 5.1 million viewers. (Incidentally, “Housewife” has built on its “Middle” lead-in in the demo the last three new episodes.) “Fresh Off the Boat” fell a couple tenths to a 1.0 and 3.47 million viewers, as did “The Real O’Neals,” with a 0.8 and 2.78 million viewers. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” grew slightly to a 0.9 and 2.52 million viewers.

“The Flash” on The CW rounded up to stay steady in the demo with a 1.0 and 2.7 million viewers. “No Tomorrow” grew ever so slightly, to a 0.3 and 861,000 viewers.

CBS decided to go into repeats on Tuesday.

As a reminder, most of these series (particularly scripted ones) will see their ratings grow by 50% or more once viewership within three or seven days is tallied. However, most of that viewership won’t count toward the deliveries networks guarantee advertisers.

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