The combination of the largest audience for an AFC wild-card game in primetime in nine years and the week’s five highest-rated scripted programs gave CBS its largest weekly audience since it aired men’s college basketball’s Final Four in April, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
CBS’ coverage of the Tennessee Titans 20-13 upset of the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots Saturday averaged 31.417 million viewers, the largest for a prime-time program since the Super Bowl LIII postgame show Feb. 3 on CBS.
NBC’s Golden Globes telecast drew the largest audience for a prime-time entertainment program since “The Big Bang Theory” finale in May, averaging 18.323 million viewers.
Sunday’s ceremony at The Beverly Hilton, hosted by comedian Ricky Gervais, was third among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Dec. 30 and Sunday, behind the Patriots-Titans game and NBC’s 20-minute postgame show following Sunday’s Philadelphia Eagles-Seattle Seahawks NFC wild-card game, which averaged 24.657 million viewers.
Viewership was down 1.5% from last year’s ceremony, which averaged 18.61 million viewers and was hosted by actress Sandra Oh and actor Andy Samberg.
Factors for the decrease included a longer time between the end of NFL game that preceded the ceremony. Sunday’s ceremony began 20 minutes after the NFL game that preceded it, 14 more than last year.
Viewership for most forms of programming has decreased in recent years, in part because of competition from streaming programs, including streams of the same programs shown on traditional television.
CBS averaged 7.79 million viewers for its prime-time programming for its first weekly victory since the week of Nov. 11-17 and third of the 15-week-old 2019-20 prime-time television season.
NBC was second, averaging 6.63 million, followed by ESPN, which averaged 4.631 million, ABC, which averaged 4.09 million, and Fox, which averaged 2.17 million for its 15 hours, one minute of prime-time programming.
Fox was the only network among the top five whose viewership was not bolstered by NFL programming. CBS, NBC, ESPN and ABC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
The 40-minute runover of Seattle’s 17-9 victory over Philadelphia averaged 38.015 million viewers. The 21-minute runover of ABC’s coverage of the Houston Texans’ 22-19 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills in an AFC wild-card game Saturday averaged 21.042 million viewers.
The runovers are not considered separate programs but are included in the weekly average.
In a week when there were no original episodes of the season’s three highest-rated scripted programs and 12 of the top 13, CBS’ Friday night lineup accounted for each of the week’s top three.
“Hawaii Five-0” was first among the week’s scripted programs, averaging 8.059 million viewers, seventh overall. “Magnum P.I.” which followed and completed a crossover that began on “Hawaii Five-0” was eighth overall, averaging 7.833 million viewers.
“Blue Bloods” was 10th overall, averaging 7.684 million viewers.
The hourlong season premiere of “Last Man Standing” was the week’s lone first-run live-action comedy and topped the genre — and all Fox prime-time programming — averaging 5.211 million viewers, 18th overall and 12th among non-sports programs.
The premiere of the law enforcement drama “The Deputy” which followed won its 9-10 p.m. Thursday time slot and was 21st overall and 15th among non-sports programs, averaging 4.749 million viewers.
A pair of specials accounted for both of ABC’s highest-rated programs.
The 10-11 p.m. segment of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020,” was fifth for the week and second among non-sports programs, averaging 10.829 million viewers.
The ABC News documentary “What Is Jeopardy!? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show,” was ninth for the week, fifth among non-sports programs and first in its Thursday 8-9 p.m. time slot, averaging 7.812 million viewers.
The week’s highest-rated prime-time cable program was ESPN’s 10-minute college football studio show between its Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl telecasts, which averaged 13.158 million viewers, fourth overall.
Fox News Channel was second among cable networks, averaging 2.118 million viewers and Hallmark Channel third, averaging 1.335 million.
The highest-rated Spanish-language program was the second segment of Univision’s New Year’s Eve special “Feliz 2020” which averaged 2.107 million viewers, 52nd among cable programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the sixth consecutive week and seventh time in eight weeks, averaging 1.29 million viewers. Telemundo averaged 740,000 viewers to finish second, followed by UniMas, which averaged 510,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 160,000 viewers, and Azteca America, which averaged 80,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the fifth consecutive week, 56th time in 57 weeks and 108th time in 110 weeks, averaging 8.87 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.174 million viewers. The “CBS Evening News” averaged 5.355 million viewers. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
The averages for “World News Tonight with David Muir” and the “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” were based on the Monday, Thursday and Friday newscasts. The “CBS Evening News” average was based on the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday newscasts.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ coverage of the AFC wild-card game between the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans; NBC’s 20-minute postgame show following the Philadelphia Eagles-Seattle Seahawks NFC wild-card game; NBC’s Golden Globes telecast; ESPN’s 10-minute college football studio show between its Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl telecasts; the 10-11 p.m. segment of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020”; ESPN’s Sugar Bowl telecast; CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.”; the ABC News documentary “What Is Jeopardy!? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show”; and CBS’ “Blue Bloods.”