Goofy smart guys helped CBS win the week’s overall ratings race, but Payton Manning and the Denver Broncos on NBC outscored everyone with the most-watched program in the latest viewing results.
CBS finished first in total viewership during the opening week of the prime-time television season for the seventh consecutive year, while NBC led among young adults for the fourth consecutive year.
CBS was the lone major broadcast network to average more viewers in premiere week than last season, averaging 10.94 million for its prime-time programming between Sept. 21 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
NBC was second, averaging 8.94 million, followed by ABC (6.93 million) and Fox (4.21 million).
CBS averaged 30,000 more viewers than last year’s premiere week, an increase of 0.3 percent. NBC’s viewership fell by 1.21 million, or 11.9 percent; ABC’s dropped 1.01 million (12.7 percent); and Fox’s declined 1.06 million (20.1 percent).
CBS had six of the week’s nine most-watched programs, topped by “The Big Bang Theory,” which averaged 18.2 million viewers to finish second overall behind NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions (22.07 million).
NBC finished first among harder-to-reach viewers ages 18-49, the group ABC and Fox also target and advertisers covet. NBC, ABC and Fox had fewer viewers among the group than in last season’s premiere week, while CBS had a 1 percent increase.
CBS also had the most-watched premiere with “Life in Pieces,” which averaged 11.28 million viewers at 8:30 p.m. last Monday and retained 62 percent of “The Big Bang Theory’s” audience.
The percentage of viewers a program retains from the program preceding it is among the factors executives consider when determining whether to renew a series.
CBS’ other premiere, “Limitless,” averaged 9.86 million viewers, winning its 10-11 p.m. Tuesday time slot and finishing 22nd for the week. The sequel to the 2011 film thriller retained 78.1 percent of the audience of “NCIS: New Orleans.”
The premiere of the NBC drama “Blindspot” averaged 10.61 million viewers in its Monday 10-11 p.m. time slot, putting it 19th for the week. It retained 85.8 percent of the viewers who watched the preceding two-hour episode of “The Voice.”
NBC’s other premieres both aired on Thursday, opposite CBS’ “Thursday Night Football” and ABC’s Thursday lineup of Shonda Rhimes-produced dramas. “Heroes Reborn” averaged 6.09 million viewers, 45th for the week, and “The Player” 4.86 million, 55th for the week. Both programs finished third in their time slots.
ABC’s “The Muppets” averaged 9.01 million viewers, third in its Tuesday 8-8:30 p.m. time slot and 27th for the week.
ABC’s other two premieres both aired on Sunday, finishing third in their time slots behind “Sunday Night Football” and CBS’ two-hour “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” series finale.
“Blood & Oil” averaged 6.36 million viewers from 9-10 p.m., putting it 43rd for the week. “Quantico” averaged 7.14 million from 10-11 p.m., 38th for the week.
The premiere of Fox’s crime drama “Rosewood” averaged 7.54 million viewers, third in its Wednesday 8-9 p.m. time slot and 36th for the week.
Fox’s other two premieres were the least-watched among the week’s 11 premieres on the four major broadcast networks. The two-hour premiere of the comedy-horror mystery “Scream Queens” last Tuesday averaged 4.04 million viewers, 58th for the week. “Minority Report” averaged 3.1 million viewers from 9-10 p.m. Monday, tying for 74th for the week.
The live-plus-same day figures are treated with less importance by network executives when determining series’ futures than they had been in the past because the growing amount of delayed viewing has prompted advertisers to increase acceptance of figures that include delayed viewing.
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts was the week’s most-watched cable program and 10th among all prime-time programs, averaging 12.48 million viewers.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network for the third consecutive week, averaging 2.89 million viewers. Disney Channel was second, averaging 1.86 million.
The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Monday episode of the Univision telenovela “Amores Con Trampa,” which averaged 3.32 million viewers, 66th among all prime-time broadcast and cable programs.
As usual, Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network, averaging 2.26 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.46 million, followed by UniMas (480,000), Estrella TV (230,000), MundoFox (170,000) and Azteca America (120,000).
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 14th consecutive week, averaging 8.28 million viewers, followed by
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” (7.91 million) and the “CBS Evening News” anchored by Scott Pelley (6.55 million).
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS” and “Thursday Night Football”; Fox’s “Empire”; NBC’s nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” kickoff show; CBS’ “60 Minutes,” eight-minute NFL postgame show and “NCIS: New Orleans”; and ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
— Wire reports