A longer-than-usual NFL runover, “60 Minutes” and the Southeastern Conference championship combined to give CBS its second ratings victory of the 13-week-old 2020-21 prime-time television season, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
CBS averaged a season-high 6.18 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Dec. 14 and Sunday. NBC averaged 5.27 million viewers to finish second for the second consecutive week following five consecutive victories.
Fox was third, averaging 4.07 million viewers for its 17 hours of programming, a week after finishing first. ABC was fourth for the second consecutive week, averaging 3.53 million viewers.
NBC, CBS and ABC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
CBS was in third behind Fox and NBC through Friday, but moved into first with its coverage of Alabama’s 52-46 victory over Florida in Saturday’s SEC Championship, which averaged 8.921 million viewers, putting it seventh for the week behind three NFL games, “60 Minutes,” NBC’s nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show and Fox’s six-minute NFL postgame show.
The hour-long runover of CBS’ Sunday afternoon NFL coverage into prime time, mainly the Kansas City Chiefs’ 32-29 victory over the New Orleans Saints, averaged 25.256 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly average.
“60 Minutes,” which followed the runover, averaged 11.585 million, fourth for the week. The CBS news magazine was the most-watched non-NFL program for the fourth consecutive week.
CBS also had the week’s most-watched scripted program, the comedy “Young Sheldon,” which was 13th overall and fourth among entertainment programs, averaging 6.862 million viewers. The CBS police drama “Blue Bloods” was the week’s most-watched 10 p.m. program and first on Friday, averaging 6.383 million, putting it 14th overall and fifth among entertainment programs.
CBS’ other first-place finish came during the week of Oct. 5-12 when its programming included a prime-time NFL game.
The week’s most-watched entertainment program was Fox’s season finale of “The Masked Singer,” eighth overall, averaging 7.412 million viewers.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched prime-time program for the eighth consecutive week, with the Cleveland Browns’ 20-6 victory over the New York Giants averaging 15.61 million viewers, 8.5% less than the 17.053-million average for the Buffalo Bills’ 26-15 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous Sunday.
The Los Angeles Chargers’ 30-27 overtime victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Fox’s “Thursday Night Football” was second for the week, averaging 12.962 million viewers.
The most-watched cable program was the Baltimore Ravens’ 47-42 victory over Cleveland on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Dec. 14, which averaged 12.422 million viewers, third for the week.
The top three cable networks were the same as the previous two weeks. Fox News Channel was first for the 45th time in 48 weeks, averaging 2.382 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 2.071 million and MSNBC third, averaging 1.997 million.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Tuesday episode of the Univision telenovela “Vencer el desamor” which averaged 1.953 million viewers, 56th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 55th consecutive week and 57th time in 58 weeks, averaging 1.32 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 890,000, followed by UniMas (530,000), Estrella TV (150,000) and Azteca America (50,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 55th consecutive week, the 106th time in 107 weeks and the 158th time in 160 weeks, averaging 9.721 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.922 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” averaging 5.918 million viewers
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; Fox’s “Thursday Night Football”; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; the nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show; Fox’s six-minute NFL postgame show; CBS’ coverage of the Southeastern Conference championship; Fox’s “The Masked Singer”; the 17-minute “Thursday Night Football” pre-kickoff show; and the Tuesday episode of NBC’s “The Voice.”
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