The 10-11 p.m. segment of “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018” averaged a record-15.798 million viewers Sunday. The New Year’s Eve special has aired annually since 2000.
Viewership was up 36.7 percent from the 11.556 average for the edition broadcast on Dec. 31, 2016.
This was the second time in the 14-week-old season an entertainment program has finished first in the weekly ratings. The other time was the opening week of the season when the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory” was first.
Sports programming finished first the other 12 times, including nine first-place finishes by NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”
The 8-10 p.m. segment “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018” was fourth for the week and second among non-sports programs, averaging 10.5 million viewers, a 59 percent increase over the 6.6 million average one year earlier.
Both the Dec. 31, 2016 segments aired opposite ESPN’s coverage of the Fiesta Bowl, which served as the prime-time College Football Playoff semifinal, and averaged 18.396 million viewers.
There was no college or pro football game airing opposite “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018” Sunday. The NFL dropped plans for a “Sunday Night Football” game on NBC to ensure that all games with playoff implications that impact each other were played at the same time.
With the four major broadcast network schedules dominated by reruns, ESPN combined “Monday Night Football” and the Cotton and Orange Bowl telecasts Friday and Saturday to be the most-watched network, averaging 6.204 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Dec. 25 and Sunday.
CBS finished second, averaging 5.69 million viewers. ABC was third, averaging 4.53 million viewers, followed by NBC, which averaged 3.9 million, and Fox, which averaged 3.28 million viewers for its 15 hours, 54 minutes of prime-time programming.
Fox finished fourth among the four major broadcast networks for the 41st time in the past 46 weeks.
“Monday Night Football,” the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl accounted for three of the week’s six most-watched programs.
The Philadelphia Eagles 19-10 victory over the Oakland Raiders on “Monday Night Football” Dec. 25 averaged 11.773 million viewers, finishing second for the week.
A “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN was the most-watched cable program for the 10th consecutive week.
ESPN’s coverage of Wisconsin’s 34-24 victory over Miami in the Orange Bowl Saturday was third for the week, averaging 11.727 million viewers, while USC’s 24-7 loss to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl Friday was sixth for the week, averaging 9.544 million.
CBS and Fox also benefited from NFL coverage.
CBS’ 67-minute runover of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones averaged 19.5 million viewers. Fox’s 40- minute runover averaged 20.7 million viewers.
(The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.)
Fox’s most-watched program was its 20-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT,” which averaged 10.499 million viewers, fifth for the week. Its most- watched non-sports program was “Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square,” which was 18th for the week, averaging 5.795 million viewers.
CBS’ most-watched program was the 8 p.m. Thursday rerun of “The Big Bang Theory,” eighth for the week, averaging 8.74 million viewers.
NBC’s most-watched program was a rerun of “Ellen’s Game of Games,” 17th for the week, averaging 6.031 million viewers.
ESPN, CBS, ABC and NBC all aired 22 hours of programming for ratings purposes.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Tuesday episode of Univision biblical miniseries “Rey David,” which averaged 2.048 million viewers, 62nd among broadcast programs. Its overall ranking was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the eighth consecutive week, averaging 1.49 million viewers. Telemundo averaged 970,000 to finish second for the eighth consecutive week after four consecutive first-place finishes.
UniMas was third, averaging 740,000 viewers, followed by Estrella TV, which averaged 270,000 and Azteca America, which averaged 70,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly network newscast, averaging 9.371 million viewers for its Tuesday through Friday newscasts.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.719 million viewers for its Tuesday through Thursday newscasts.
The “CBS Evening News” averaged 6.854 million viewers for its Tuesday through Thursday newscasts. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were the 10-11 p.m. segment of `Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and Orange Bowl coverage; the 8-10 p.m. segment of `Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018; Fox’s 20-minute NFL postgame show “The OT”; ESPN’s coverage of the Cotton Bowl and an 11-minute studio show preceding the Orange Bowl; CBS’ 8 p.m. Thursday rerun of “The Big Bang Theory,” a rerun of “Young Sheldon” and the 9 p.m. Thursday rerun of “The Big Bang Theory.”
—City News Service