Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The CBS newsmagazine program “60 Minutes” opened its 47th year on the air with its most-watched season premiere since 1997 and helped “Madam Secretary” debut as the week’s most-watched entertainment program.

“60 Minutes,” which opened its season with a report on the Islamic State group, averaged 17.88 million viewers to finish second among the prime- time broadcast and cable programs airing between Sept. 15 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.

A 64-minute runover of CBS’ afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones preceded”60 Minutes” and averaged 31.9 million viewers, mainly for the Seattle Seahawks’ 26-20 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos. Those teams previously faced off in Super Bowl XLVIII in February.

The premiere of “Madam Secretary,” starring Tea Leoni, averaged 14.75 million viewers to finish fourth for the week and first among entertainment programs.

The premiere of NBC’s “The Mysteries of Laura” won its 10-11 p.m. Wednesday time slot and was 12th for the week, averaging 10.19 million viewers. It benefited from following the season finale of “America’s Got Talent,” which averaged 12.21 million viewers to finish eighth for the week.

The week’s other premiere, Fox’s “Red Band Society,” was third in its Wednesday 9-10 p.m. time slot and 46th for the week, averaging 4.1 million viewers. Its audience was 3.5 percent larger than the 3.96 million average for “Hell’s Kitchen” which preceded it.

CBS’ Sunday success combined with “Thursday Night Football” made it the most-watched network for the second consecutive week, averaging 8.75 million viewers. NBC was second, averaging 7.85 million, while ABC was third, averaging 5.52 million.

Fox averaged 3.13 million viewers to finish fourth among the broadcast networks and fifth overall, trailing cable’s ESPN, which averaged 3.49 million.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers was the week’s most-watched program, averaging 19.67 million viewers. This is the third time in the three-week-old NFL regular season an NFL game on NBC has been the week’s most-watched program.

The NFL runover into prime time is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly averages.

The “Thursday Night Football” game between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers was ninth for the week, averaging 11.88 million viewers.

NBC edged CBS to finish first among viewers ages 18-49, the hard-to- reach group that ABC and Fox also target and advertisers covet. NBC averaged 2.93 million viewers among the group to 2.76 million for CBS.

“Sunday Night Football” was the week’s most-watched programs among the group, followed by the ESPN “Monday Night Football” game between the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles, the nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” kickoff show and “Thursday Night Football.”

The most-watched entertainment program among the group was the Tuesday edition of “America’s Got Talent.”

NBC also led among viewers ages 18-34 and 12-17 and tied CBS for first among viewers ages 25-54. CBS led among viewers 50 and older, a group it has long dominated.

The ESPN “Monday Night Football” game between the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles was the week’s most-watched cable program, averaging 14.89 million viewers, third among all prime-time programs.

The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Thursday episode of the Univision telenovela “Mi Corazon Es Tuyo,” which averaged 4.08 million viewers, putting it 47th among all prime-time broadcast and cable programs.

As usual, Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network, averaging 2.86 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.36 million, followed by UniMas (560,000), Estrella TV (210,000), MundoFox (120,000) and Azteca America (80,000).

The “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 262nd consecutive week and 309th of the past 310, averaging 8.24 million viewers.

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was second, averaging 7.87 million viewers, its most since the week of March 24-28.

The “CBS Evening News” finished third for the 416th consecutive week and 171st since Scott Pelley became anchor, averaging 6.28 million viewers. The average for did not include Thursday because of NFL coverage.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; CBS’ “Madam Secretary”; NBC’s nine-minute  “Sunday Night Football” kickoff show; ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and “Dancing with the Stars: The Results”; the Wednesday edition of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”; CBS’ “Thursday Night Football”; and the Tuesday edition of “America’s Got Talent.”

— City News Service

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