Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

The opening five games of the most-watched World Series since 2004 gave Fox its first victory in the weekly prime-time ratings since January, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen.

The five games between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians averaged 19.928 million viewers, the most-watched World Series since 2004, when the Boston Red Sox four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals averaged 25.39 million.

The Cubs 3-2 victory in Game 5 Sunday that extended the Series was the most-watched prime-time program airing between Oct. 24 and Sunday, averaging 23.638 million viewers.

The audience was the largest for any baseball game since Game 7 of the 2011 Series between the Cardinals and Texas Rangers averaged 25.403 million, and the most for a Game 5 since 1997, when the Florida Marlins 8-7 victory over Cleveland averaged 24.2 million viewers.

Fox averaged 16.15 million viewers for its prime-time programming for the week, more than the combined total for second- and third-place CBS and ABC.

Fox ended its 28-week streak of finishing fourth among the four major broadcast networks. Its last weekly victory was for the week of Jan. 18-24 when its programming included the NFC championship game.

Fox was also bolstered by the 21.5 million average for the 37-minute overrun into prime time of its coverage of the Atlanta Falcons 33-32 victory over the Green Bay Packers and the 14.084 million average for its 23-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT,” the week’s ninth most-watched program.

The overrun is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly average.

Outside of its sports programming, which consumed five nights, Fox’s most-watched program was its fantasy police procedural “Lucifer,” 75th for the week, averaging 3.55 million viewers.

Sports accounted for each of the week’s seven most-watched programs — five World Series games on Fox, the network’s 12-minute World Series Game 5 pregame show and NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

CBS averaged 7.64 million viewers to finish second after winning each of the first five weeks of the season. NBC was third, averaging 7.48 million, and ABC fourth, averaging 5.06 million.

The comedy “The Great Indoors” was the most-watched of the week’s three premieres, all on CBS, averaging 8.821 million viewers following “The Big Bang Theory” to finish first in its 8:30-9 p.m. Thursday time slot and 23rd for the week.

CBS’ other Thursday premiere, the medical drama “Pure Genius,” won its 10-11 p.m. time slot and was 38th for the week, averaging 6.245 million viewers.

CBS’ third premiere, the comedy “Man With A Plan” was fourth in its 8:30-9 p.m. Monday time slot and 31st for the week, averaging 7.42 million.

“Man With A Plan” was in the same time slot as three programs that finished among the week’s top 16 — the NBC singing competition “The Voice,” 14th for the week, averaging 11.173 million, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” 15th for the week averaging, 11.168 million, and ABC’s  “Dancing with the Stars,” 16th for the week, averaging 11.031 million.

Fox broadcast 20 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes, CBS 22, ABC 21 hours, 53 minutes and NBC 21 hours, 30 minutes.

The week’s most-watched cable program was the second episode of the seventh season of “The Walking Dead” which averaged 12.455 million viewers, 12th for the week.

Viewership dropped 26.9 percent from the 17.029 million average for the season premiere a week earlier, the second-largest audience for a scripted program in cable television history.

Some of the horror series’ fans tweeted they would never watch again because of the violent content in the season premiere. Viewership for nearly all series drops from its season premiere to the second episode.

ESPN was the week’s most-watched cable network, averaging 2.759 million viewers. Fox News Channel finished second, averaging 2.746 million.

The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the final episode of the Univision telenovela “Tres Veces Ana,” which averaged 2.873 million viewers, 89th overall.

Long-time leader Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the second consecutive week after finishing second behind Telemundo five of the previous six weeks, averaging 1.7 million viewers.

Telemundo was second, averaging 1.68 million, followed by UniMas, which averaged 440,000 viewers, Estrella TV, which averaged 270,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 100,000.

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” averaged 8.188 million viewers to become the most-watched network nightly newscast for sixth consecutive week. The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.147 million.

The “CBS Evening News” was third, as it has been throughout Scott Pelley’s more than five years as anchor, averaging 6.79 million. viewers for

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were Fox’s coverage of Games 5, 3 and 1 of the World Series; NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; Game 2 of the World Series; the 12-minute Game 5 pregame show; Game 4 of the World Series; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”; Fox’s 23-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT”; and CBS’ “NCIS.”

—City News Service

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