Al Michaels, left and Cris Collinsworth, right on NBC's Monday Night Football. Photo by Zade Rosenthal, Courtesy NBC Universal.
Al Michaels, left and Cris Collinsworth, right on NBC’s Monday Night Football. Photo by Zade Rosenthal, Courtesy NBC Universal.
Al Michaels, left and Cris Collinsworth, right on NBC’s Monday Night Football. Photo by Zade Rosenthal, Courtesy NBC Universal.

With CBS airing reruns of this season’s three most popular scripted series, football accounted for each of last week’s four most-watched programs, while NBC finished first in the network race for the third time in four weeks.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers was the week’s most-watched program, averaging 21.15 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released today by Nielsen.

An NFL game has been the most-watched prime-time program 13 of the past 14 weeks. Game 7 of baseball’s World Series was the only non-NFL game to be first during that span.

NBC’s nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” pregame show was second, averaging 15.14 million, followed by Fox’s 14-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT,” which averaged 14.75 million, and ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, which averaged 11.75 million.

NBC averaged 8.73 million viewers for its prime-time television programming between Dec. 1 and Sunday, the first time it has been the most- watched network for three times in four weeks, outside of the Olympics, since the weeks of Dec. 17, 24 and 31 in 2012.

CBS was second, averaging 7.16 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 6.47 million, and Fox, which averaged 5.81 million.

Outside of football, NBC’s most-watched programs were the Monday and Tuesday editions of “The Voice,” which averaged 11.28 million and 11.23 million viewers to finish eighth and ninth for the week.

Although viewership for NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!” was slightly less than half the 18.62-million average for its presentation of “The Sound of Music Live!” last year, its was still 14th for the week and seventh among entertainment programs, averaging 9.21 million, programs.

“We’re very pleased with the ‘Peter Pan’ ratings and it was a great night for NBC,” NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said. “We didn’t expect to reach the same rating as ‘The Sound of Music’ since that was the first live movie event of its kind in over 50 years.”

Other factors for the lower viewership included “Peter Pan’s” absence of a crossover star the ilk of “The Sound of Music’s” Carrie Underwood and running opposite the NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” game between the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, two of the NFL’s most-popular teams.

“Peter Pan Live!” gave NBC its second-most watched Thursday, other than for sports, since the “ER” finale on April 2, 2009, behind when it aired “The Sound of Music Live!” and NBC was the night’s most-watched network.

CBS reruns accounted for each of the week’s three most-watched scripted programs. “NCIS” averaged 11.58 million viewers to finished fifth for the week, “NCIS: New Orleans” 10.62 million to finish 10th and “The Big Bang Theory” 9.64 million to finish 12th.

ABC and Fox also benefited from football coverage. ABC’s coverage of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game between undefeated Florida State and Georgia Tech was its most-watched program of the week, averaging 10.15 million viewers to finish 11th for the week.

There was a 46-minute overrun of Fox’s afternoon NFL coverage into prime time Sunday, which is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average. The exact figure for the overrun was not available, but it was more than 26 million viewers.

For the fifth consecutive week, NBC finished first among viewers ages 18- 49, the group it, ABC and Fox target and advertisers covet because it watches less television and is harder to reach.

“Sunday Night Football” was the week’s most-watched program among the group, averaging 9.08 million viewers. “The OT” was second, averaging 6.55 million, followed by the nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” kickoff show (6.15 million); “Monday Night Football” (5.18 million) and the 23-minute third-segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America” (4.71 million).

ABC and CBS both broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes, NBC 21 1/2 hours and Fox 17 hours.

ESPN was the most-watched cable network for the 13th consecutive week, averaging 2.73 million viewers.

The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Tuesday episode of the Univision telenovela “Mi Corazon Es Tuyo,” which averaged 3.95 million viewers, 82nd among all prime-time broadcast and cable programs.

As usual, Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network, averaging 2.97 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.2 million, followed by UniMas, which averaged 600,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 260,000, MundoFox, which averaged 210,000 and Azteca America, which averaged 120,000.

The “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 273rd consecutive week and 320th of the past 321, averaging 9.65 million viewers.

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was second, averaging 8.84 million and the “CBS Evening News” third, averaging 7.49 million.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football’ and nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” kickoff show; Fox’s 14- minute NFL postgame show “The OT”; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; CBS’ “NCIS”; NBC’s 23-minute third segment of “Football Night in America”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; the Monday and Tuesday episode of NBC’s “The Voice”; and CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans.”

City News Service

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