A 1-2 finish by two NFL games and the lack of first- run programming by rival networks helped NBC be the most-watched network for the fifth consecutive week, its longest streak during the official television season since 1998, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen.
NBC averaged 9 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Dec. 19 and Sunday. CBS was second, averaging 5.2 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 3.64 million, and Fox, which averaged 2.19 million.
NFL games on NBC and their pregame shows swept the week’s top five spots, with ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” finishing sixth.
The “Sunday Night Football” game between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs was the week’s most-watched program, averaging 21.413 million viewers, the most for a Week 16 NFL prime-time game since 2011.
The “Thursday Night Football” game between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles was second for the week, averaging 17.945 million viewers, the second-most for a “Thursday Night Football” game this season. The season- opening NFL kickoff game and the Thanksgiving prime-time game are not part of the “Thursday Night Football” package.
The week’s most-watched non-NFL program was a rerun of CBS’ “NCIS,” seventh for the week, averaging 9.759 million.
The next two most-watched non-NFL programs were both specials — NBC’s “America’s Got Talent: Holiday Spectacular,” eighth for the week averaging 9.538 million viewers, and CBS’ “First Lady Michelle Obama Says Farewell to the White House — An Oprah Winfrey Special,” ninth, averaging 9.467 million.
A special that first aired in 1965 was ABC’s most-watched program, “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 23rd for the week, averaging 5.489 million viewers.
Fox’s most-watched program was Saturday’s reairing of the featured bouts of UFC 206, which originally was shown on a pay-per-view basis Dec. 10. It was 34th for the week, averaging 4.72 million viewers.
The premiere of the NBC game show “The Wall” Dec. 19 was third in its Monday 10-11 p.m. time slot and 18th for the week, averaging 6.532 million.
The week’s most-watched prime-time cable program was ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game between the Carolina Panthers and Washington, which averaged 11.214 million viewers, sixth overall.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network in prime time for the second consecutive week, averaging 3.016 million viewers. Hallmark Channel’s collection of Christmas movies helped it finish second for the third consecutive week, averaging 2.192 million.
The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Univision’s coverage of the conclusion of soccer’s Liga MX finals which averaged 3.057 million viewers, 68th overall.
Long-time leader Univision averaged 1.93 million viewers to be the most- watched Spanish-language network for the seventh consecutive week and ninth time in 10 weeks.
Telemundo was second, averaging 1.28 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 570,000 viewers, Estrella TV, which averaged 280,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 90,000.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the fifth consecutive week, averaging 9.184 million viewers for its Monday through Wednesday newscasts.
The Thursday broadcast was not included in the weekly average because of pre-emptions and time changes caused by “Thursday Night Football.” The Friday broadcast was not included because it fell on Christmas Eve.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir,” was second, averaging 8.632 million viewers.
The “CBS Evening News” was third, as it has been throughout Scott Pelley’s more than five years as anchor, averaging 7.207 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” “Thursday Night Football,” the nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” kickoff show; the 21-minute third segment of “Football Night in America”; and the nine-minute “Thursday Night Football” kickoff show; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; CBS’ “NCIS”; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent: Holiday Spectacular”; CBS’ “First Lady Michelle Obama Says Farewell to the White House — An Oprah Winfrey Special”; and the NFL Network’s 22-minute postgame show Sunday.
—City News Service
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