“60 Minutes” drew its largest audience of the season and most-watched episode since March 25 on Sunday, thanks in part to the Pittsburgh Steelers upset of the New England Patriots, according to figures released Tuesday.
The CBS news magazine followed a 30-minute runover of the network’s afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones and averaged 14.545 million viewers for reports on plastic refuse in the oceans and drug companies facing major lawsuits over the opioid epidemic.
The audience was the largest among non-NFL prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Dec. 10 and Sunday and third overall, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
The runover averaged 28.46 million viewers. It is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly average.
CBS also had each of the nine most-watched scripted programs, topped by “NCIS,” fourth overall, averaging 12.275 million viewers, its largest audience since Nov. 13.
CBS also got time slot victories from colorized versions of its programming from the 1950s and 1960s.
The “I Love Lucy Holiday Special,” averaged 5.864 million viewers to win its 8-9:01 p.m. Friday time slot and was the night’s most-watched program. It finished 28th for the week.
“The Dick Van Dyke Show — Now in Living Color!” averaged 5.311 million viewers, winning its 9:01-10 p.m. time slot and finishing 34th for the week.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the week’s most-watched program for the 12th time in the 15-week-old NFL season, with the Philadelphia Eagles 30-23 upset of the Rams averaging 18.121 million viewers.
NFL programming has topped the weekly ratings two other times during the NFL season. The only non-NFL programming to top the weekly ratings was Fox’s coverage of Game 5 of the World Series.
“Thursday Night Football” was second for the week, with the Chargers 29-28 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs averaging 17.408 million viewers, the season’s second-largest audience in Fox’s 11-game package.
Although they are played on Thursdays, the season-opening NFL Kickoff Game and Thanksgiving night games are not part of the “Thursday Night Football” package.
CBS was the most-watched network for the second consecutive week and fifth time in the 12-week-old 2018-19 prime-time television season, averaging 7.2 million viewers.
NBC was second for the third consecutive week, averaging 6.2 million viewers. The Tuesday episode of “The Voice,” was its most-watched non-NFL program, averaging 8.969 million viewers to finish 10th.
Fox was third for the second consecutive week, averaging 5.12 million viewers for its 16 hours, 35 minutes of prime-time programming. Its most-watched non-NFL program was “Last Man Standing,” 33rd for the week, averaging 5.436 million viewers.
ABC was fourth for the seventh time in eight weeks, averaging 3.62 million viewers. Its most-watched program was “The Conners,” 22nd for the week averaging 6.677 million viewers.
NBC broadcast 21 1/2 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes, CBS and ABC 22 each.
CBS and ABC both broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes, NBC 21 1/2.
The week’s most-watched cable program was ESPN’s Dec. 10 “Monday Night Football” game between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks that averaged 11.633 million viewers, sixth overall.
A “Monday Night Football” game has been the most-watched cable program each week of the NFL season.
The top three cable networks were unchanged from the previous week. ESPN was first, averaging 2.403 million viewers, followed by Fox News Channel, which averaged 2.037 million viewers, and Hallmark Channel, which averaged 2.021 million.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Univision’s coverage of Sunday’s concluding leg of the Liga MX 2018 Apertura final, which averaged 2.547 million viewers, 83rd overall.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the seventh consecutive week, averaging 1.43 million viewers. Telemundo finished second, averaging 1.08 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 300,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 270,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 120,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the third consecutive week and 54th time in the past 55 weeks, averaging 8.876 million viewers.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.566 million.
The “CBS Evening News” averaged 6.360 million viewers. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; Fox’s “Thursday Night Football”; CBS’ “60 Minutes” and “NCIS”; NBC’s nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” pregame show; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; Fox’s 17-minute “Thursday Night Football” pregame show; the 24-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; CBS’ “FBI”; and the Tuesday episode of NBC’s “The Voice.”
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