Two prime-time NFL games and the runover of its Sunday afternoon coverage enabled Fox to end NBC’s five-week streak of being the most-watched network, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
Fox averaged 7.28 million viewers for its 18 hours of prime-time programming between Dec. 7 and Sunday for it fourth victory of the 12-week-old 2020-21 television season. NBC was second, averaging 5.19 million, followed by CBS, which averaged 4.64 million, and ABC, which averaged 3.79 million.
NBC, CBS and ABC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox’s “Thursday Night Football” telecast of the Los Angeles Rams’ 24-3 victory over the New England Patriots averaged 13.636 million viewers, third for the week.
The Baltimore Ravens’ 34-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys Dec. 8 on Fox averaged 13.54 million viewers, fourth for the week. The game was initially scheduled to be the Dec. 3 “Thursday Night Football” game, but rescheduled because of coronavirus issues among the Ravens.
Fox also benefited from the 48-minute runover of its Sunday afternoon NFL coverage into prime time which averaged 21.189 million viewers and a 31-minute overrun of the Dec. 7 afternoon game between the Washington Football Team and Pittsburgh Steelers that averaged 10.293 million viewers.
The overruns are not considered separate programs, but are included in the weekly average.
Outside of its NFL programming, Fox’s most-watched program was “The Masked Singer,” 25th overall, 15th among non-NFL programs and 14th among entertainment programs, averaging 4.887 million viewers.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched prime-time program for the seventh consecutive week, with the Buffalo Bills’ 26-15 victory over Pittsburgh averaging 17.053 million viewers.
The ABC-ESPN simulcast of the Dec. 7 “Monday Night Football” game averaged a combined 14.174 million viewers, second for the week. Buffalo’s 34-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers averaged 7.763 million viewers on ESPN, the most among the week’s cable program, and 6.411 million on ABC, the network’s most-watched program.
CBS’ “60 Minutes” was the most-watched non-NFL program for the third consecutive week, averaging 9.098 million viewers, eighth overall.
CBS also had the most-watched entertainment program, “NCIS,” 10th overall and second among non-NFL programs, averaging 8.53 million viewers, and the most-watched comedy, “Bob Hearts Abishola,” 20th overall, 11th among non-NFL programs and 10th among entertainment programs.
The top three cable networks were the same as the previous week. Fox News Channel was first for the 44th time in 47 weeks, averaging 2.687 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 2.22 million and MSNBC third, averaging 2.09 million.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Univision’s telecast of Sunday’s final leg of the Liga MX final series between Leon and Pumas UNAM, which averaged 2.425 million viewers, 90th overall.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 54th consecutive week and 56th time in 57 weeks, averaging 1.35 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.01 million, followed by UniMas (490,000), Estrella TV (150,000) and Azteca America (60,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 54th consecutive week, the 105th time in 106 weeks and the 157th time in 159 weeks, averaging 9.353 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.906 million viewers. The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 5.742 million viewers
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; the ABC-ESPN simulcast of “Monday Night Football”; Fox’s “Thursday Night Football” and “Tuesday Night Football”; the nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show; Fox’s 12-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT”; the 22-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; the 17-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show; and CBS’ “NCIS.”