The County Music Association Awards drew ABC’s largest audience of the eight-week-old 2019-20 prime-time television season, helping it avoid finishing fourth for the first time this season, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
The three-hour, one-minute ceremony from Nashville, Tennessee averaged 11.278 million viewers last Wednesday, seventh among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Nov. 11 and Sunday and third among non-NFL programs.
The celebration of the legacy of women in country music hosted by Carrie Underwood with Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton billed as special guest hosts was among the rare programs whose viewership increased from a year ago, rising 11.7% from last year’s average of 10.1 million.
Viewership for most programs is down on a year-to-year basis primarily due higher viewership of streaming programming, including the same programs shown on traditional television.
ABC’s previously most-watched program of the season was “The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!” which averaged 9.02 million viewers Nov. 5.
The highest-rated NFL game telecast this season propelled “60 Minutes” to its largest audience in 11 months, helping CBS be the most-watched network for the second time this season.
The news magazine averaged 13.202 million viewers, its most since Dec. 16, 2018, when it averaged 14.545 million viewers, to finish fourth for the week behind three NFL games.
“60 Minutes” followed a 49-minute runover of CBS’ afternoon NFL coverage in the Eastern and Central time zones which averaged 28.22 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly average.
The runover was part of the highest-rated NFL game telecast this season, with Sunday’s late afternoon national game window averaging a 14.0 rating. The New England Patriots 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles aired in most of the nation.
In a rarity, a cable program was the week’s most-watched program, with the Seattle Seahawks 27-24 overtime victory over the previously undefeated San Francisco 49ers on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Nov. 11 averaging 16.947 million viewers, its largest audience since Nov. 19, 2018, when the Los Angeles Rams 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs averaged 16.892 million viewers.
The Rams 17-7 victory over the Chicago Bears on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football’ was second for the week, averaging 16.851 million viewers, its smallest audience since Oct. 13 when the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers averaged 14.887 million viewers.
CBS had four of the five most-watched non-NFL programs to win the network ratings race, averaging 6.87 million viewers. NBC averaged 6.24 million viewers to finish second, a week after its third victory of the season.
ABC was third, averaging 5.6 million. Fox was fourth, averaging 4.86 million viewers for its 17 hours of prime-time programming.
CBS’ “NCIS” was the most-watched scripted program for the eighth time this season, averaging 11.659 million viewers, sixth overall. CBS’ “Young Sheldon” was the most-watched comedy for the seventh time in the seven weeks it has aired an original episode, averaging 9.059 million viewers, 10th overall.
“The Unicorn” was the most-watched new series, averaging 5.636 million viewers, 32nd overall. CBS has had the most-watched new series each week of the season.
CBS, NBC and ABC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox was first among viewers ages 18-49 for the seventh consecutive week thanks to “Thursday Night Football” and “The Masked Singer,” averaging 1.77 million viewers among the group it, NBC and ABC targets and advertisers covet.
NBC was second, averaging 1.73 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 1.34 million and CBS, which averaged 1.27 million.
“Thursday Night Football” was third among the group, averaging 5.922 million and “The Masked Singer” 10th, averaging 2.13 million.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network for the second consecutive week, averaging 3.165 million viewers. Fox News Channel was second, averaging 2.749 million. MSNBC was third, averaging 1.957 million.
Univision’s coverage of the Latin Grammys was the most-watched Spanish-language program, averaging 3.442 million viewers, 61st overall.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network after four consecutive second-place finishes behind Telemundo, averaging 1.64 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.33 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 450,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 230,000 viewers, and Azteca America, which averaged 70,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 51st consecutive week and 102nd time in the past 103 weeks, averaging 9.12 million viewers.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.384 million viewers. The “CBS Evening News” averaged 6.014 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 ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; Fox’s “Thursday Night Football”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; the nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” kickoff show; CBS’ “NCIS”; ABC’s coverage of the County Music Association Awards; Fox’s 17-minute “Thursday Night Football” pregame show; the 23-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; and CBS’ “Young Sheldon.”