The Los Angeles Rams 30-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC divisional playoff game drew Fox’s largest Saturday prime-time audience, 33.352 million viewers, and was first for the week, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
The viewership was up 25 percent from the Saturday prime-time divisional playoff game a year earlier, the New England Patriots 35-14 victory over Tennessee Titans on CBS, which averaged 26.69 million viewers.
NFL coverage gave Fox its second consecutive weekly prime-time victory and third of the 16-week-old 2018-19 television season. Fox’s other victory came when it aired the World Series.
In a week when the schedules of all four major broadcast networks were scrambled by President Donald Trump’s prime-time address, Fox averaged 11.35 million viewers for its 16 hours, six minutes of prime-time programming between Jan. 7 and Sunday.
CBS was second, averaging 6.53 million, followed by NBC, which averaged 4.95 million, ESPN, which averaged 4.141 million, and ABC, which averaged 3.84 million.
CBS aired 21 hours, 30 minutes of prime-time programming, NBC 21 hours, 35 minutes, ESPN 22 hours and ABC 21 hours, 40 minutes.
Fox was also bolstered by Sunday’s 52-minute runover of its afternoon coverage of the New Orleans Saints 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles into prime time which averaged 42.844 million viewers.
The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the network weekly average.
Fox’s most-watched non-sports program was “The Simpsons,” which was 15th for the week and 10th among non-sports programs, averaging 8.202 million viewers.
“The Simpsons” followed a 14-minute NFL postgame show that averaged 22.797 million viewers, fourth for the week.
Viewership for the second episode of Fox’s “The Masked Singer,” dropped 24.4 percent from its premiere to 7.079 million viewers, second in its 9-10 p.m. Wednesday time slot, 21st for the week and 16th among non-sports programs.
The premiere averaged 9.368 million, winning its time slot, finishing ninth for the week and third among entertainment programs.
Viewership decreases for nearly every series from its premiere to its second episode.
NBC’s most-watched program was “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” which averaged 9.966 million viewers, the largest audience for a premiere of an alternative series since NBC’s “Little Big Shots” averaged 12.81 million on March 8, 2016.
“America’s Got Talent: The Champions” was ninth for the week, fourth among non-sports programs.
CBS’ “Fam” was the most-watched of the week’s two comedy premieres, but ABC’s “Schooled” did a better job of retaining viewers from the preceding program.
“Fam” averaged 7.347 million viewers, first in its 9:30-10 p.m. Thursday time slot, 19th for the week and 14th among non-sports programs. “Fam” retained 78.5 percent of the 9.358-million average viewership of “Mom” that preceded it.
The premiere of ABC’s “The Goldbergs”’ spinoff “Schooled,” was third in its 8:30-9 p.m. Wednesday time slot, 42nd for the week and 36th among non-sports programs, averaging 4.823 million viewers. “Schooled” retained 93.1 percent of the 5.181-million average viewership of “The Goldbergs” that preceded it.
The week’s most-watched cable program was ESPN’s coverage of Clemson’s 44-16 victory over Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship which averaged 24.708 million viewers, third for the week.
Viewership was down 10.8 percent from last year’s national championship, a 26-23 overtime victory by Alabama over Georgia that averaged 27.696 million viewers.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network for the sixth consecutive week, averaging 4.141 million viewers. Fox News Channel was second, averaging 2.424 million viewers, and MSNBC third, averaging 2.12 million.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Univision dance competition “Mira Quien Baila” which averaged 2.04 million viewers, 87th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 11th consecutive week, averaging 1.4 million viewers. Telemundo finished second, averaging 1.13 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 310,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 290,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 100,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the seventh consecutive week and 58th time in the past 59 weeks, averaging 9.418 million viewers.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.999 million viewers.
The “CBS Evening News” averaged 6.676 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 Fox’s coverage of the Rams-Dallas NFL playoff game; ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff national championship; Fox’s seven-minute pregame show before the Rams-Dallas game; Fox’s 14-minute postgame show following Sunday’s Philadelphia-New Orleans playoff game; ESPN’s 15-minute College Football Playoff national championship pregame show; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS” and “Young Sheldon”; NBC’s “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” and CBS’ “Mom.”
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