The American Music Awards drew its second-smallest audience and least for a Sunday, but the fourth-most for any non-football program on ABC during the nine-week-old 2019-20 prime-time television season, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
The three-hour, seven-minute ceremony averaged 6.682 million viewers, finishing second in its 8-11:07 p.m. time slot and 23rd among broadcast and cable programs airing between Nov. 18 and Sunday.
The American Music Awards sank to a record-low 6.584 million viewers in 2018 when it was shifted to Tuesday in October and aired opposite TBS’ coverage of the final game of the American League Division Series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
The previous Sunday low was 8.182 million viewers for the 2016 ceremony. Viewership for nearly all forms of programming in recent years has declined because of increased viewership of streaming programming.
The only non-football ABC programs to average more viewers this season according to live-plus-same-day figures were the County Music Association Awards, which averaged 11.278 million viewers Nov. 13; “The Wonderful World of Disney presents The Little Mermaid Live!” which averaged 9.02 million viewers Nov. 5; and the Nov. 11 “Dancing with the Stars” episode, which averaged 6.758 million.
The American Music Awards drew the week’s third-largest non-NFL audience among viewers ages 18-49, averaging 2.226 million viewers in the group targeted by ABC, NBC and Fox and coveted by advertisers.
The week’s only non-NFL programs to average more viewers among the group were Fox’s “The Masked Singer,” which averaged 2.442 million and “The Simpsons,” which averaged 2.381 million.
The American Music Awards has aired annually since 1974, always on ABC. It averaged a record-48.158 million viewers in 1985 when it aired in January and there was less competition for viewers and fewer leisure-time options.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched prime-time program for the eighth time in the 12-week NFL season, averaging 20.828 million viewers for the San Francisco 49ers 37-8 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
CBS’ “NCIS” was the most-watched scripted program for the ninth time this season, averaging 11.133 million viewers, sixth overall. CBS’ “Young Sheldon” was the most-watched comedy for the eighth time in the eight weeks it has aired an original episode, averaging 8.383 million viewers, 10th overall.
“Bob Hearts Abishola” was the most-watched new series, averaging 6.024 million viewers, 32nd overall. CBS has had the most-watched new series each week of the season.
NBC was the most-watched network for the fourth time this season and second time in three weeks, averaging 7.04 million viewers. Fox was second, averaging 7.04 million viewers for its 17 hours, one minute of prime-time programming.
CBS was third, averaging 5.86 million viewers, followed by ABC, the other major broadcast network which did not have NFL programming for the week, averaging 4.42 million.
Fox benefited from a 37-minute runover of its Sunday afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones, which averaged 32.217 million viewers.
The runover is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly average.
NFL programming accounted for Fox’s three most-watched programs — its 23-minute NFL postgame show “The OT” Sunday, which was third for the week, averaging 14.259 million viewers; its “Thursday Night Football” game between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, fourth for the week, averaging 13.219 million viewers, and 16-minute “Thursday Night Football” pregame show, 13th for the week, averaging 8.237 million viewers.
Fox’s most-watched non-NFL program was “The Masked Singer,” 22nd for the week, averaging 6.7 million viewers.
NBC, CBS and ABC each broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox was first among viewers ages 18-49 for the eighth consecutive week, averaging 2.19 million viewers among the group. NBC was second, averaging 1.94 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 1.14 million and CBS, which averaged 850,000.
The most-watched cable program was the Kansas City Chiefs 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Nov. 18 which averaged 13.181 million viewers, fifth for the week.
“Monday Night Football” has been the most-watched cable program for each of its first 11 weeks of the 2019 NFL season.
The Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC last Wednesday averaged 6.613 million viewers, the least of the four debate telecasts of the 2020 campaign to air only on cable. It was second among the week’s cable programs and 26th overall.
Fox News Channel was the week’s most-watched cable network, averaging 2.923 million viewers. ESPN averaged 2.628 million to finish second after back-to-back first-place finishes.
MSNBC was third, averaging 2.397 million.
The season finale of the Telemundo competition series, “Exatlon Estados Unidos” was the most-watched Spanish-language program, averaging 1.887 million viewers, 81st among broadcast programming. Its overall position was not available.
Telemundo averaged 1.46 million viewers to be the most-watched Spanish-language network a week after its four-week winning streak ended with a second-place finish behind Univision.
Univision was second, averaging 1.3 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 550,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 280,000 viewers, and Azteca America, which averaged 90,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 52nd consecutive week and 103rd time in the past 104 weeks, averaging 8.797 million viewers.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.915 million viewers. The “CBS Evening News” averaged 5.608 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” and its nine-minute kickoff show; Fox’s 23-minute Sunday NFL postgame show, “The OT” and “Thursday Night Football”; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; CBS’ “NCIS”; the 23-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; CBS’ “FBI”; NBC’s “Chicago Med”; and CBS’ “Young Sheldon.”
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