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TV Ratings: Packers-Cowboys, Steelers-Chiefs Draw Huge Audiences

UPDATED: The regular season may have been a nadir for NFL ratings, but the NFL playoffs are shaping up to be big, with Fox’s afternoon NFC divisional game once again leading the way.

Fox’s Sunday telecast of the Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys brawl, which dashed hopes of a hate-watchers’-dream Cowboys-Patriots Super Bowl when the Packers edged the Cowboys out 34-31, drew a massive average audience of 48.5 million, the most-watched divisional round game in history; and above last year’s NFC Championship (45.7) and just a hair below 2015’s (49.8 million).

The game pulled in a 28.2 overnight household rating. For perspective, the record-shattering Game 7 of this year’s World Series, which ended up drawing 40 million viewers, had an overnight household rating of 25.2.

NBC’s nighttime AFC match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs was also a big winner, drawing an average audience of 37.1 million. It had pulled in a 21.9 overnight household rating, a record for primetime playoff games, for the close game that ended with a Steelers win (18-16).

Earlier in the weekend:


ABC’s comedies fell slightly from the week before. “Last Man Standing” brought in a preliminary 1.3 in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and 7.24 million viewers. “Dr. Ken” notched a 0.9 and 4.91 million viewers. “Shark Tank” drew a 1.3 and 5.79 million viewers. “20/20” drew a 1.1 and 5.81 million viewers.

On CBS, “MacGyver” started the night off with a 1.1 in the demo and 7.72 million viewers. “Hawaii Five-0” drew a 1.1 in the demo and 9.54 million viewers. “Blue Bloods” built on that with a 1.3 and 10.34 million viewers.

“Grimm” on NBC fell from its premiere to a 0.8 in the demo and 4.3 million viewers. “Emerald City” held that demo but lost some total viewers with 3.29 million. “Dateline” finished off the night with a 0.7 and 3.45 million viewers.

On Fox, “Rosewood” brought in its customary 0.7 in the demo and 2.86 million viewers. “Sleepy Hollow” drew a 0.6 and 2.1 million viewers.

“The Vampire Diaries” continued its final season on The CW with a 0.4 in the demo and 1 million viewers on the nose. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” brought in a 0.2 and 570,000 viewers.


From 8-11 p.m. on CBS, the New England Patriots’ pummeling of the Houston Texans (34-16) brought in 26.33 million viewers and a big ol’ 8.2 rating in the demo.

“Saturday Night Live” slumped a little from this season’s highs, but still brought in a healthy 4.3 overnight household rating and a very preliminary 2.0 rating in the 18-49 demo for Felicity Jones’ hosting debut.

As a reminder, many of these scripted series will see lifts of 50% or more once viewing within three and seven days has been counted. However, most of those gains won’t translate to the ratings guarantees networks make advertisers.

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