Three National League Championship Series games enabled TBS to be the most-watched cable network in prime time for the second consecutive week while NBC finished first among the broadcast networks, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
TBS averaged 3.064 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Oct. 18 and Sunday. The series accounted for three of the week’s six most-watched prime-time cable programs, topped by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ season-ending 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 Saturday, which averaged 6.949 million viewers, second among cable programs and 13th overall.
The game drew the largest audience for a Game 6 of a National League Championship Series since 2016, when the Chicago Cubs’ 5-0 victory over the Dodgers on Fox Sports 1 that gave them their first National League pennant since 1945 averaged 9.706 million viewers.
The six-game series averaged 5.2 million viewers, the most for a championship series since the 2018 American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros which also aired on TBS.
ESPN was second among cable networks for the second consecutive week after three consecutive first-place finishes, averaging 2.928 million viewers. Fox News Channel averaged 2.306 million viewers to finish third for the second straight week after three consecutive second-place finishes.
“Monday Night Football” was the most-watched cable program for the sixth time in six 2021 regular-season broadcasts, with the Tennessee Titans’ 34-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills on ESPN Oct. 18 averaging 12.53 million viewers, third overall.
CNN finished ninth for the second consecutive week, despite a 12.1% increase in viewership from 647,000 to 725,000. MSNBC finished fourth for the third consecutive week after three consecutive third-place finishes, averaging 1.171 million viewers, followed by Hallmark Channel (1.11 million), TNT (920,000), HGTV (894,000), and TLC (790,000).
The season’s first three “Countdown to Christmas” movies boosted Hallmark Channel’s viewership 54.8% from its 717,000 average the previous week when it finished seventh.
The top 20 cable programs consisted of “Monday Night Football” and its 14-minute pregame show; three National League Championship Series games; three American League Championship Series games and the ALCS Game 5 postgame show on Fox Sports 1; Saturday’s Alabama-Tennessee college football game on ESPN; nine Fox News Channel political talk shows — five broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and four of “Hannity”; and TNT’s coverage of the Los Angeles Lakers-Golden State Warriors NBA game.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched program for the fifth time in the five-week-old 2021-22 television season and sixth in the seven-week-old NFL season, averaging 16.113 million viewers for the Indianapolis Colts’ 30-18 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
One week after its first second-place finish, NBC returned to the top of the network ratings, averaging 5.79 million viewers. CBS was second, averaging 5.11 million, a week after finishing first.
Fox was third for the third consecutive week and fourth time in the season, averaging 4.04 million viewers for its 16 hours of prime-time programming.
ABC was fourth among the broadcast networks for the third consecutive week and fourth time in the season, averaging 3.402 million viewers. The CW averaged 452,000 viewers for its 14 hours of prime-time programming.
CBS, NBC and ABC each aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
CBS benefited from a 23-minute runover of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time, which averaged 17.64 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program, but is included in the network average.
A seven-minute NFL postgame show followed the runover, which averaged 11.403 million viewers, fifth for the week. The postgame show was followed in the Eastern and Central time zones, where the bulk of the nation’s population lives, by “60 Minutes” which averaged 10.524 million viewers, first among non-NFL programs for the fourth consecutive week and sixth overall.
“The Equalizer” followed “60 Minutes” and drew the week’s largest audience among entertainment programs, 7.811 million viewers, eighth overall and second among non-NFL programs.
CBS’ “Young Sheldon” was the most-watched comedy for the third consecutive week, averaging 6.358 million viewers, 17th overall and ninth among non-NFL programs.
“NCIS: Hawai’i” was the most-watched new series for the second time in the season, averaging 5.325 million viewers, 25th overall and 17th among non-NFL programs.
The most-watched program beginning at 10 p.m. was the CBS police drama “Blue Bloods” which averaged 6.051 million viewers, 18th overall and 10th among non-NFL programs.
The week’s only premiere on the five major English-language broadcast networks, the ABC drama “Queens” which averaged 1.751 million viewers, 68th among the week’s broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
NBC’s most-watched non-NFL program for the second consecutive week was “Chicago Fire,” 11th overall and fourth among non-NFL programs, averaging 7.359 million viewers.
Fox’s most-watched program was the Denver-Cleveland “Thursday Night Football” game, which averaged 12.993 million viewers, second for the week. Its most-watched non-NFL program was the procedural drama “9-1-1,” which averaged 5.282 million viewers, 27th overall and 19th among non-NFL programs.
“Dancing with the Stars” was ABC’s most-watched program for the third consecutive week, averaging 5.018 million viewers, 33rd overall and 25th among non-NFL programs.
The CW’s most-watched program for the fourth consecutive week was the magic competition series “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” which was 160th among broadcast programs, averaging 649,000 viewers. Its overall rank was not available.
The 20-most watched prime-time programs consisted of three NFL games, four NFL pregame shows and one postgame show; Game 6 of the National League Championship Series; Game 6 of the American League Championship Series; “60 Minutes” and five CBS scripted programs and four NBC entertainment programs.
The next-to-last episode of the Univision telenovela “Diseñando tu amor” was the most-watched prime-time Spanish-language program, averaging 1.854 million viewers, 64th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 99th consecutive week and 101st time in 102 weeks, averaging 1.32 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.01 million viewers, followed by UniMas (490,000), Estrella TV (100,000) and Azteca America (30,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 99th consecutive week, the 150th time in 151 weeks and the 202nd time in 204 weeks, averaging 7.882 million viewers.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.722 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 4.868 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”; the 10-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show; CBS’ seven-minute NFL postgame show and “60 Minutes”; the 19-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; CBS’ “The Equalizer” and “NCIS”; and the 24-minute second segment of “Football Night in America.”