“Yellowstone” averaged a series-record 10.3 million viewers on Paramount Network and CMT for its fourth-season finale Sunday to become the most-watched non-sports program for the third consecutive week and the most-watched entertainment program for the fifth time in five weeks, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen today.
The previous high for the neo-Western was 10.042 million on four cable networks for its fourth-season premiere Nov. 7.
“Yellowstone” ranked seventh among prime-time programs airing between Dec. 27 and Sunday, trailing two NFL games, two NFL pregame shows, Fox’s 23-minute NFL postgame show “The OT” and the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched program for the 13th time in the 15-week-old 2021-22 prime-time television season, with the Green Bay Packers’ 37-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings averaging 18.545 million viewers, fifth among the season’s 17 “Sunday Night Football” games, including trailing two other Green Bay telecasts.
The 10-11 p.m. segment of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022” was the most-watched New Year’s Eve entertainment program and ABC’s most-watched program of the week, averaging 8.875 million viewers, ninth for the week and second among entertainment programs.
Five nights of bowls plus “Monday Night Football” made ESPN the most-watched network, averaging 8.086 million viewers. NBC was second, averaging 4.42 million, followed by CBS, which averaged 3.94 million, Fox, which averaged 2.98 million for its 15 hours of prime-time programming, and ABC, which averaged 2.81 million.
Fox’s average included a 37-minute runover of its afternoon NFL programming. The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.
NBC, CBS and ABC each broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming.
CBS’ most-watched show was “60 Minutes,” which averaged 7.094 million viewers, 11th for the week and third among non-sports programs. The broadcast consisted of an expanded version including interviews and footage not previously broadcast of Jon Wertheim’s report from May 9 on the Jews who escaped the Nazis during World War II and returned to fight Hitler as part of a secret American military intelligence group trained in espionage and psychological warfare.
The CW averaged 460,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. Its most-watched program was a rerun of its special “Dogs of the Year 2021,” which averaged 656,000 viewers, 178th among broadcast programming, one spot behind a rerun of an episode of the 1965-71 CBS comedy “Hogan’s Heroes” on Me TV.
The only premiere on the five major broadcast networks, the Fox cooking competition “Next Level Chef,” was 20th for the week and 10th among non-sports programming, averaging 5.081 million viewers Sunday following “The OT,” which averaged 14.249 million, fourth for the week and first among Fox programs.
The 20 most watched prime-time programs consisted of two NFL games; four NFL pregame shows; Fox’s 23-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT”; three college football bowl games; three New Year’s Eve entertainment programs; “Yellowstone”; “60 Minutes”; four CBS entertainment programs; and Fox’s “Next Level Chef.”
ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl was the most-watched cable program, with Georgia’s 34-11 victory over Michigan averaging 16.506 million viewers, second for the week.
Fox News Channel was second behind ESPN for the second consecutive week after three first-place finishes in five weeks, averaging 1.723 million viewers. Paramount Network was third, averaging 1.587 million viewers.
An episode of the Univision telenovela “La Desalmada” was the most-watched prime-time Spanish-language program for the fifth time in six weeks, with the Thursday episode averaging 2.047 million viewers, 49th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 109th consecutive week and 111th time in 112 weeks, averaging 1.37 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 890,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (480,000), Estrella TV (130,000) and Azteca America (50,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 108th time in 109 weeks and 160th time in 162 weeks, averaging 8.747 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.233 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 5.153 million viewers.
Averages for all three newscasts did not include their New Year’s Eve broadcasts.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl on ESPN; NBC’s 10-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show; Fox’s 23-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT”; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; the 19-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; “Yellowstone”; ESPN’s Sugar Bowl telecast; the 10-11 p.m. segment of ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022”; and ESPN’s coverage of the Peach Bowl.