All three elements of last Wednesday’s “Chicago” crossover were among the week’s six most-watched non-NFL programs, helping NBC to its second weekly victory of the 2019-20 prime-time television season.
The crossover began with “Chicago Fire,” airing at 8 p.m., an hour earlier than usual, and attracting its largest audience since April 3, averaging 8.24 million viewers, 13th among all prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Oct. 14 and Sunday, sixth among non-NFL programs and fifth among entertainment programs, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen.
“Chicago Med,” which followed, drew its largest audience since Feb. 20, averaging 8.94 million viewers, eighth for the week and second among non-NFL and entertainment programs.
“Chicago P.D.” was 10th for the week and fourth among non-NFL and entertainment programs, averaging 8.63 million viewers, its most since Feb. 20. Its viewership was up 36% from its 6.34-million average the previous week. “Chicago P.D.” was the week’s most-watched 10 p.m. drama.
NBC also had the week’s most-watched prime-time program, the Dallas Cowboys’ 37-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on “Sunday Night Football,” which averaged 21.45 million viewers, the second-largest audience of the television season, behind only the 24.11-million average for the New Orleans Saints’ 12-10 victory over Dallas on Sept. 29. Viewership was up 44.1% from the 14.89-million average for the previous week’s “Sunday Night Football” game, the L.A. Chargers’ 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the least-watched “Sunday Night Football” game since Oct. 28, 2018, when the New Orleans Saints’ 30-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, opposite the fifth and final game of the World Series, averaged 14.09 million viewers.
NBC averaged 6.96 million viewers for the week. Fox was second, averaging 6.1 million for its 16 hours, two minutes of prime-time programming; followed by CBS, which averaged 5.66 million; and ABC, which averaged 4.34 million.
CBS, NBC and ABC each broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming. CBS and ABC did not have any prime-time NFL programming to bolster viewership.
Fox’s weekly average was bolstered by the 46-minute runover of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones and averaged 20.995 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.
Fox’s most-watched program was the Kansas City Chiefs’ 30-6 victory over the Denver Broncos on “Thursday Night Football,” which averaged 14.02 million viewers, third for the week.
Viewership was the lowest of Fox’s four “Thursday Night Football” games this season and 13.8% less than the 16.26-million average for the previous week’s game, a 35-14 victory by the New England Patriots over the New York Giants.
Fox’s most-watched non-NFL program was “The Masked Singer,” 20th for the week, averaging 7.42 million viewers.
CBS had the week’s most-watched non-NFL program, “NCIS,” sixth overall averaging 10.88 million viewers, the only entertainment program to average more than 9 million viewers.
ABC’s most-watched program was Penn State’s 28-21 victory over Michigan on “Saturday Night Football” which was 24th for the week, averaging 6.66 million viewers. “Dancing with the Stars” was its most-watched non-sports program, averaging 6.63 million viewers, 25th for the week.
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” averaged a season-high 14 million viewers Oct. 14 for the Green Bay Packers’ 23-22 victory over the Detroit Lions, fourth for the week. “Monday Night Football” has been the most-watched cable program for each of the first six weeks of the NFL season.
CNN’s Democratic presidential debate Oct. 15 was second among cable programs and 11th overall, averaging 8.61 million viewers. The campaign’s other debates to air solely on cable averaged 8.69 million and 10.77 million July 30-31, also on CNN, opposite less original programming but also when overall television viewership is lower.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network in prime time for the third consecutive week after back-to-back second-place finishes behind Fox News Channel, averaging 2.82 million viewers.