CBS returned to the top of the prime-time television ratings after a seven-week absence with seven of the week’s eight most-watched scripted programs, including reruns of its two most popular series “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS,” according to live-plus-same day figures released by Nielsen.
CBS averaged 10.27 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Jan. 9 and Sunday. NBC averaged 9.05 million viewers to finish second after winning six of the previous seven weeks.
Fox was third, averaging 7.64 million viewers for its 15 hours, 14 minutes of prime-time programming. CBS aired 21 hours and five minutes of prime- time programming and NBC and ABC 21 hours each.
ABC was fourth for the second consecutive week, averaging 4.66 million viewers.
NBC, CBS and Fox all benefited from NFL playoff coverage.
NBC’s coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 18-16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday was the week’s most-watched prime-time program, averaging 37.113 million viewers, the most for a prime-time wild card or divisional playoff game. The previous record was 34.4 million for the New Orleans Saints-Philadelphia Eagles wild card round game on Jan. 4, 2014 on NBC.
The game was also the most-watched Sunday prime-time program since Super Bowl 50.
CBS’ coverage of the New England Patriots’ 34-16 victory over the Houston Texans on Saturday was second for the week, averaging 29.816 million viewers.
Fox’s 68-minute runover of Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay Packers game averaged 55.48 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.
NBC also had the week’s most-watched scripted program, the acclaimed first-season drama “This Is Us,” which was seventh for the week, averaging 10.475 million viewers.
The police drama “Blue Bloods” was CBS’ most-watched scripted program, finishing eighth overall, averaging 10.475 million viewers.
The ABC game show “Big Fan” was the most-watched of the week’s two premieres on the major broadcast networks, averaging 3.487 million viewers, 76th for the week and third in its 10-10:30 p.m. time slot Jan. 9. A second episode from 10:30-11 p.m. Jan. 9 averaged 2.756 million viewers, 96th for the week and fourth in the time slot.
The Fox cooking competition “My Kitchen Rules” averaged 2.511 million viewers for its premiere, 108th for the week and fifth in the Thursday 9-10 p.m. time slot.
ESPN’s coverage of college football’s national championship game was the week’s most-watched prime-time cable program, averaging 24.421 million viewers, fourth overall. Viewership was down 4.9 percent from the 25.67 million average for ESPN’s telecast of last year’s championship game.
The average total viewership — which included alternative broadcasts on other ESPN networks and streaming — was 26.029 million, down 2.5 percent from the 2016 game, which also matched Alabama and Clemson.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network for the fifth consecutive week, averaging 3.97 million viewers. Fox News Channel was second, averaging 2.48 million.
The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Monday episode of the Univision telenovela “Vino El Amor” which averaged 2.362 million viewers, 108th overall.
Long-time leader Univision averaged 1.92 million viewers to be the most- watched Spanish-language network for the 10th consecutive week and 12th time in 13 weeks.
Telemundo was second, averaging 1.58 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 690,000 viewers, Estrella TV, which averaged 240,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 110,000.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was the most-watched nightly newscast, averaging averaging 9.584 million viewers.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was second, averaging 9.209 million after back-to-back first-place finishes.
The “CBS Evening News” was third, as it has been throughout Scott Pelley’s more than five years as anchor, averaging 7.631 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s coverage of the Kansas City-Pittsburgh NFL divisional playoff game; CBS’ coverage of the Houston-New England NFL divisional playoff game; Fox’s six-minute NFL postgame show Sunday; ESPN’s coverage of college football’s national championship game; NBC’s nine-minute football pregame show; ESPN’s 20-minute college football’s national championship game preview show; Fox’s 15-minute NFL postgame show Saturday; NBC’s “This Is Us”; and CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
—City News Service