A program other than NBC’s “Sunday Night Football’ has topped the prime-time ratings for the third time in the 16-week-old 2021-22 television season, but like the other two times, it took another NFL game to do it, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen today.
The ABC-ESPN simulcast of the Dallas Cowboys’ 51-26 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday averaged 20.207 million viewers, the most for a prime-time program since Oct. 28, when the Arizona Cardinals-Green Bay Packers “Thursday Night Football” game on Fox averaged 20.264 million viewers.
The game averaged 13.7 million viewers on ABC and 5.507 million on ESPN.
Only three prime-time programs this season averaged more viewers than Saturday’s game — the New England Patriots-Tampa Bay Buccaneers “Sunday Night Football” game Oct. 3 (26.747 million), its 12-minute pregame show (20.317 million) and the Arizona-Green Bay game.
The Arizona-Green Bay and Buffalo Bills-New Orleans Saints Thanksgiving night game on NBC were the only other non-“Sunday Night Football” games to top the weekly ratings.
“Sunday Night Football” was second for the week, with the Chargers’ 35-32 overtime loss to Las Vegas Raiders averaging 17.691 million viewers, seventh among the season’s 18 “Sunday Night Football” games.
“60 Minutes” was the most-watched non-sports program for the ninth time in the season, averaging 9.898 million viewers, seventh for the week behind three NFL games, two NFL pregame shows and Fox’s 17-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT.”
The news magazine followed a 43-minute runover of CBS’ late afternoon NFL coverage in the Eastern and Central time zones, where the bulk of the nation’s population lives. The runover averaged 13.96 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.
The CBS crime drama “FBI” was the most-watched entertainment program for the second time in the season, averaging 8.52 million viewers, ninth for the week and second among non-sports programs.
CBS also had the most-watched comedy, first-year series and 10 p.m. program.
“Young Sheldon” was the most-watched comedy for the 14th consecutive week, averaging 7.385 million viewers, 10th for the week and second among entertainment programs. “Ghosts” was the most-watched first-year series for the fourth time, averaging 6.478 million viewers, 16th for the week and seventh among entertainment programs.
The police drama “Blue Bloods” was the most-watched 10 p.m. program for the eighth time, averaging 6.068 million viewers, 17th for the week and eighth among entertainment programs.
“Judge Steve Harvey” was the most-watched of the seven premieres on the five major English-language networks, with the alternative courtroom comedy averaging 5.158 million viewers, 19th among entertainment programs, 28th overall and second in its 8-9 p.m. time slot Jan. 4. It was ABC’s most-watched non-NFL program.
The Fox crime drama “The Cleaning Lady” was second among the premieres, averaging 3.65 million viewers, 30th among entertainment programs, 41st overall and second in its 8-9 p.m. time slot Jan. 3.
“Women of the Movement” was the only other premiere to average more than 3 million viewers. Back-to-back episodes of the six-episode series on the quest by Mamie Till-Mobley to find justice after her son Emmett was murdered averaged 3.12 million viewers, 37th among entertainment programs, 53rd overall and fourth in its Thursday 8-10 p.m. time slot.
The combination of seven of the top 10 entertainment programs, the NFL runover and “60 Minutes” made CBS the most-watched network for the fourth time in the season, averaging 5.47 million viewers. NBC was second, averaging 5.19 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 4.81 million.
Fox averaged 3.29 million viewers for its 15 hours of prime-time programming and The CW 430,000 for its 12 hours.
Fox’s average included a 43-minute runover of its afternoon NFL programming. The viewership figure for the runover was not immediately available.
NBC, CBS and ABC each broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming.
NBC’s most-watched non-NFL program was “Chicago Fire,” 12th overall and fourth among entertainment programs, averaging 7.15 million viewers.
Fox’s most-watched program was “The OT,” fourth for the week, 12.106 million viewers. Its most-watched non-NFL program was the third season premiere of the procedural drama “9-1-1: Lone Star,” 20th for the week and 11th among entertainment programs, averaging 5.504 million viewers.
The CW’s most-watched program was the magic competition series “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” which was 131st among broadcast programs, averaging 892,000 viewers. Its overall rank was not available.
The 20 most watched prime-time programs consisted of three NFL games; four NFL pregame shows; “The OT”; “60 Minutes”; seven CBS entertainment programs; the three elements of NBC’s “Chicago” franchise — “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.” — and “9-1-1: Lone Star.”
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” was the most-watched cable program of the 15th time in 17 weeks, with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 26-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns Jan. 3 averaging 11.781 million viewers, sixth for the week.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network for the third consecutive week, averaging 3.368 million viewers. Fox News Channel was second behind ESPN for the third consecutive week after three first-place finishes in five weeks, averaging 2.253 million viewers. MSNBC was third, averaging 1.239 million viewers.
CNN was 11th, averaging 691,000 viewers. CNN also trailed Hallmark Channel (1.197 million), HGTV (1.165 million), TLC (879,000), TBS (757,000), Discovery (728,000), History (724,000) and Food Network (715,000).
The top 20 cable programs consisted of two NFL games, two NFL pregame shows and the Texas Bowl on ESPN; 11 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and one of “The Ingraham Angle”; two editions of the MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show”; the Hallmark Channel movie, “The Wedding Veil”; and History’s long-running chronicle of the quest to solve the more than two-century-old treasure mystery on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island.”
An episode of the Univision telenovela “La Desalmada” was the most-watched prime-time Spanish-language program for the sixth time in seven weeks, with the Tuesday episode averaging 2.456 million viewers, 68th for the week.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 110th consecutive week and 112th time in 113 weeks, averaging 1.66 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 950,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (540,000), Estrella TV (120,000) and Azteca America (40,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 109th time in 110 weeks and 161st time in 163 weeks, averaging 9.391 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.209 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 5.705 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were the ABC-ESPN simulcast of Saturday’s Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game; NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; NBC’s 10-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show; Fox’s 17-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT”; the ABC-ESPN simulcast of the 14-minute kickoff show preceding the Dallas-Philadelphia game; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; the 22-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; and CBS’ “FBI” and “Young Sheldon.”