Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

CBS had each of the eight most-watched scripted programs last week to be the most-viewed network for the second time in the two- week-old, 2016-17 prime-time television season.

In a week when the Sept. 26 presidential debate did not figure into the major broadcast network ratings because the coverage ran without commercials, CBS averaged 8.48 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Sept. 26 and Sunday.

NBC was second, averaging 8.04 million viewers, followed by ABC, which averaged 6.31 million, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen today.

Fox averaged 4.78 million viewers to finish fourth among the four major broadcast networks for the 25th consecutive week dating back to last season.

There were no series premieres last week. The CBS drama “Bull” was the most-watched new series for the second consecutive week, averaging 13.616 million viewers, putting it third among non-NFL programs and fifth overall.

“Bull’s” viewership was down 12.5 percent from the 15.566 million for its premiere, and its retention of viewers from lead-in show “NCIS” dropped nearly 10 percent — from 97.3 percent to 87.7 percent.

Viewership for nearly all shows drop from their premieres to the second episodes.

“NCIS” was the week’s most-watched non-NFL program and second overall, averaging 15.519 million viewers, down 3 percent from the 15.995 million average for its season premiere.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched program for the second time during the 2016-17 television season and third time overall, averaging 18.057 million viewers.

NBC got a boost from the first presidential debate as more viewers — 12.763 million –watched its post-debate analysis than any other broadcast or cable network. The 21-minute broadcast, which came in sixth, was included in the weekly ratings because it included commercials.

NBC’s most-watched entertainment programs were the Tuesday and Monday episodes of the singing competition “The Voice,” seventh and eighth for the week, respectively, averaging 12.091 million and 11.746 million.

NBC’s most-watched scripted program was the new drama “This Is Us” at 28th for the week, averaging 8.748 million viewers — down 13.1 percent from the 10.065 million average for its premiere.

Fox benefited from the 52-minute runover of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time and eight-minute “The OT” postgame show that followed.

The NFL runover is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly average. Its average viewership was not available. “The OT,” with 11.562 million viewers, was ninth for the week.

Fox’s most-watched non-NFL program was “Empire,” 21st for the week, averaging 9.65 million viewers.

CBS and ABC both aired 20 hours, 21 minutes of programming for ratings purposes, NBC 19 hours, 51 minutes and Fox 15 hours.

Unlike their major broadcast counterparts, both Fox News Channel and CNN ran commercials during what they considered the debate coverage, meaning they would be considered programs counted in the ratings charts and the weekly network averages.

Fox News Channel’s debate coverage averaged 11.429 million viewers, the week’s most among cable programs and 11th overall, while CNN’s averaged 9.962 million, third among cable programs and 18th overall.

Viewership for the debate on the third major cable news channel, MSNBC, averaged 4.915 million, seventh among cable programs and 53rd overall.

Fox News Channel also topped its cable rivals in post-debate viewership, averaging 9.978 million for its 20-minute analysis program, second among cable programs and 18th overall.

“The Kelly File” which followed Fox News Channel’s initial post-debate coverage averaged 5.368 million viewers.

CNN averaged 6.935 million viewers for its 80-minute post-debate show, sixth among cable programs and 37th overall.

MSNBC averaged 4.099 million viewers for its 80-minute post debate show, ninth among cable programs and 65th overall.

The most-watched non-debate program on cable television was ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game, which averaged 8.047 million viewers, fourth among cable programs and 32nd overall, mostly airing opposite the most-watched presidential debate in history.

The debate enabled Fox News Channel to end ESPN’s three-week streak as the most-watched cable network, averaging 3.107 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 2.16 million.

The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program for the third consecutive week was the Telemundo drama based on the life of the late singer Juan Gabriel. “Hasta Que Te Conoci” averaged 2.665 million viewers, 95th overall.

Perennial leader Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network after finishing behind Telemundo for three consecutive weeks, averaging 1.78 million viewers.

Telemundo was second, averaging 1.7 million, followed by UniMas (450,000), Estrella TV (220,000), Azteca America (100,000) and MundoMax (60,000).

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the second consecutive week, averaging 8.276 million viewers. The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second (7.898 million), followed by the “CBS Evening News” anchored by Scott Pelley (6.549 million).

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; CBS’ “NCIS”; NBC’s nine-minute ‘Sunday Night Football” kickoff show; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and “Bull”; NBC’s 21-minute presidential debate analysis program; the Tuesday and Monday episodes of NBC’s “The Voice”; Fox’s eight-minute NFL postgame show “The OT”; and Fox News Channel’s presidential debate coverage.

–City News Service 

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