The most-watched “Sunday Night Football” game since the opening week of the 2015 season helped NBC to its third consecutive weekly prime-time ratings victory and fourth in five weeks, according to live-plus- same-day figures released by the Nielsen rating service.
NBC averaged 10.61 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Dec. 5 and Sunday. CBS was second, averaging 7.76 million viewers. ABC and Fox tied for third, each averaging 4.49 million.
The New York Giants 10-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football” finished first for the week, averaging 26.499 million viewers, the most for a NFL Week 14 prime-time game since Dec. 11, 1989, when the San Francisco 49ers 30-27 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” averaged 26.502 million.
The winter finale of NBC’s critically acclaimed first-season drama “This Is Us” averaged a season-high 10.949 million viewers, ninth for the week and third among among entertainment programs.
“Hairspray Live!” drew the second-smallest audience of NBC’s four live musicals, averaging 9.046 million viewers, finishing 18th for the week. Only “Peter Pan Live!” which averaged 9.21 million viewers in 2014, drew fewer viewers.
Viewership was down 21.3 percent from last year’s live musical, “The Wiz Live!” which averaged 11.5 million viewers. The first of NBC’s four live musicals, “The Sound of Music Live!” averaged 18.62 million viewers in 2013.
NBC aired 21 1/2 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes, CBS and ABC 22 hours each and Fox 16.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network in prime time for the second consecutive week and fifth time in six weeks, averaging 2.513 million viewers.
Hallmark Channel was second, averaging 2.27 million, while ESPN was third, averaging 2.221 million after finishing second three consecutive weeks.
The AMC horror series, “The Walking Dead” was the week’s most-watched prime-time cable program, averaging 10.583 million viewers, 11th overall and fourth among entertainment programs.
The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Dec. 5 finale of the Telemundo telenovela “Senora Acero: La Coyote,” which averaged 2.642 million viewers to finish 100th overall.
Long-time leader Univision averaged 1.78 million viewers to be the most- watched Spanish-language network for the fifth consecutive week and seventh time in eight weeks.
Telemundo was second, averaging 1.53 million viewers, followed by UniMas, which averaged 570,000 viewers, Estrella TV, which averaged 280,000, and Azteca America, which averaged 100,000.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” edged ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir,” 9.182 million – 9.114 million to be most-watched nightly newscast for the third consecutive week.
The Thursday broadcast was not included in the weekly average for “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” because of pre-emptions and time changes caused by “Thursday Night Football.”
The “CBS Evening News” was third, as it has been throughout Scott Pelley’s more than five years as anchor, averaging 7.621 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” its nine-minute kickoff show and “Thursday Night Football”; CBS’ “NCIS”; the 29-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; Fox’s 16-minute NFL postgame show “The OT”; CBS’ “Bull” and “60 Minutes”; NBC’s “This Is Us”; and NBC’s eight-minute “Thursday Night Football” kickoff show.
—City News Service
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