As is customary, an NFL wild-card playoff game drew the largest audience to that point in the prime-time television season, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Wednesday.

NBC’s coverage of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 42-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday averaged 28.935 million viewers. The previous high was 26.747 million for NBC’s New England Patriots-Tampa Bay Buccaneers “Sunday Night Football” game Oct. 3, which marked Tom Brady’s return to Gillette Stadium after leaving the Patriots following the 2019 season.

More than four hours of postseason NFL programming, plus “60 Minutes” and its traditionally popular entertainment series made CBS the most-watched network since the week of Fox’s coverage of the opening five games of the World Series, Oct. 25-31, averaged 10.02 million viewers between Jan. 10 and Sunday.

CBS aired five of the nine most-watched programs in the 17th week of the 2021-22 prime-time season, topped by the Buffalo Bills’ 47-17 victory over New England in a wild-card playoff game Saturday that averaged 26.373 million viewers, second for the week.

CBS also had the most-watched non-sports program, “60 Minutes,” which averaged 11.291 million viewers, seventh for the week; the most-watched entertainment program, “FBI,” eighth, averaging 8.45 million viewers; the most-watched comedy, “Young Sheldon,” ninth, averaging 7.7 million; the most-watched first-season program, “Ghosts,” 12th, averaging 6.475 million; and the most-watched program beginning at 10 p.m., “Blue Bloods,” 13th, averaging 6.438 million.

CBS’ weekly average also included Sunday’s 62-minute overrun of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time, which averaged 45.50 million viewers. The overrun is not considered a separate program.

NBC was second for the week, averaging 6.83 million viewers, followed by ESPN, which averaged 3.685 million viewers, and ABC, which averaged 2.67 million. Fox averaged 1.72 million viewers for its 15 hours of programming and The CW 540,000 for its 12 hours.

NBC, CBS and ABC each broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming.

NBC’s most-watched non-NFL program was “Chicago Fire,” 10th for the week and third among entertainment programming, averaging 7.412 million.

ABC’s most-watched program was “Judge Steve Harvey,” 24th for the week and 17th among entertainment programs, averaging 4.455 million viewers. The alternative courtroom comedy has been ABC’s most-watched non-NFL prime-time program both weeks it has aired.

Fox’s most-watched program was the procedural drama “9-1-1: Lone Star,” 19th for the week and 12th among entertainment programs, averaging 5.031 million viewers.

The CW’s most-watched program was the second season premiere of the superhero series “Superman & Lois,” 114th among broadcast programs, averaging 1.089 million viewers. Its overall rank was not available.

The 20 most watched prime-time programs consisted of two NFL games; one NFL pregame show; one NFL postgame show; ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff national championship and its 20-minute pregame show; “60 Minutes”; eight CBS entertainment programs; four NBC entertainment programs; and Fox’s “9-1-1: Lone Star.”

The most-watched cable program was ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff national championship, which averaged 22.257 million viewers, fourth for the week.

ESPN was the most-watched cable network for the fourth consecutive week, averaging 3.368 million viewers. Fox News Channel was second behind ESPN for the fourth consecutive week after three first-place finishes in five weeks, averaging 2.241 million viewers. MSNBC was third, averaging 1.202 million viewers.

CNN dropped three spots from the previous week to 14th, averaging 588,000 viewers, 14.9% less than its 691,000 average viewership the previous week. CNN also trailed HGTV (1.08 million), Hallmark Channel (978,000), TLC (850,000), History (768,000), Discovery (722,000), Food Network (709,000), Lifetime (627,000), USA Network (621,000), TBS (605,000) and Investigation Discovery (602,000).

The top 20 cable programs consisted of ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff national championship and its 20-minute pregame show; 13 Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and three of “The Ingraham Angle”; three editions of the MSNBC news and opinion program “The Rachel Maddow Show”; the Hallmark Channel movie, “The Perfect Pairing”; 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 seventh time in eight weeks, with the Monday episode averaging 2.772 million viewers, 57th for the week.

Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 111th consecutive week and 113th time in 114 weeks, averaging 1.57 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 900,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (580,000), Estrella TV (110,000) and Azteca America (50,000).

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 110th time in 112 weeks and 162nd time in 164 weeks, averaging 9.026 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.055 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 5.786 million viewers.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were the NBC’s coverage of the Kansas City-Pittsburgh NFL playoff game; CBS’ coverage of the Buffalo-New England NFL playoff game; CBS’ seven-minute NFL postgame show Sunday; ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff national championship; NBC’s nine-minute Kansas City-Pittsburgh pre-kickoff show; ESPN’s 20-minute College Football Playoff national championship pregame show; CBS’ “60 Minutes,” “FBI,” “Young Sheldon”; and NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *