World Series gives Fox rare ratings victory

Cody Bellinger homers for the Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2017 World Series. Photo: Twitter/LA Dodgers

Fox’s coverage of the opening five games of the World Series swept the top five spots in last week’s ratings, despite a 16.6 percent drop in viewership from last year’s series, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.

The five games between the Dodgers and Houston Astros through Sunday averaged 16.098 million viewers. The average viewership was the second largest through five games of a World Series since 2010.

Only the first five games of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians averaged more than the 2017 series through five games since 2010.

The first five games of the 2016 World Series averaged 19.298 million, the most through five games since 2004, when the Boston Red Sox’s four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals averaged 25.39 million.

The Astros’ 13-12, 10-inning victory in Game 5 on Sunday was the most- watched prime-time program between Oct. 23 and Sunday, averaging 18.94 million viewers. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 20-15 victory over the Detroit Lions on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” that ran opposite most of Game 5 averaged 13.862 million viewers, finishing seventh for the week.

Fox recorded its first weekly ratings victory since it aired Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5, averaging 13.17 million viewers. It had finished fourth among the four major broadcast networks 35 of the previous 37 weeks.

CBS was second after winning each of the first four weeks of the 2017-18 season, averaging 7.78 million viewers. NBC was third, averaging 6.93 million, followed by ABC, which averaged 4.54 million viewers, finishing fourth.

Fox’s NFL programming also contributed to the victory, with the final 41 minutes of its coverage of the Dallas-Washington game running into prime time. The viewership figure for the runover was not immediately available. The runover is not considered a separate program, but is included in the weekly average.

Fox’s 19-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT,” was eighth for the week, averaging 13.595 million viewers, topping all other programming except for the five World Series games, the 14-minute pregame show for Game 5 of the World Series and “Sunday Night Football.”

CBS aired the week’s two most-watched non-sports programs — “NCIS,” ninth for the week, averaging 13.303 million and “The Big Bang  Theory,” 10th for the week, averaging 13.205 million.

Fox aired 19 hours, 40 minutes of prime-time programming for ratings purposes. CBS and ABC each aired 22 hours and NBC 21 1/2 hours.

Sports also accounted for the week’s most-watched cable program, the Oct. 23 “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN, where the Philadelphia Eagles’ 34-24 victory over Washington averaged 11.353 million viewers, 12th overall.

Fox News Channel edged ESPN, 2.294 million-2.291 million to be the most- watched cable network.

The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Telemundo’s coverage of the Latin America Music Awards which averaged 2.319 million viewers to finish 105th overall.

Telemundo edged Univision, 1.48 million viewers-1.47 million to be the most-watched Spanish-language network for the third consecutive week. UniMas was third, averaging 550,000 viewers, followed by Estrella TV, which averaged 240,000 and Azteca America, which averaged 90,000.

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly network newscast for the eighth consecutive week and 20th time in the past 21 weeks, averaging 8.425 million viewers.

The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.014 million viewers.

The “CBS Evening News” was third, averaging 6.223 million viewers for its Monday through Wednesday and Friday newscasts.

The Thursday newscast was not included in the weekly average because of pre-emptions and schedule changes because of “Thursday Night Football.” The “CBS Evening News” has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25- 29, 2006.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were Fox’s coverage of Games 5, 3, 2, 4 and 1 of the World Series and the 14-minute pregame show for Game 5; NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; Fox’s 19-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT”; and CBS’ “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

—City News Service