The NBC network averaged its largest audience since last Thanksgiving week thanks to two prime-time NFL games in a week that mixed the final three days of the November ratings sweeps with four days dominated by football, reruns and Christmas specials.
NBC averaged 8.87 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Nov. 25 and Sunday, the most since it averaged 9.070 million for the week of Nov. 19-25, 2018, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Wednesday.
NBC has been the highest-ranked network five times in the 10-week-old 2019-20 prime-time television season and three times in four weeks.
CBS was second for the week, averaging 6.27 million viewers, followed by ABC, which averaged 3.64 million, and Fox, which averaged 3.07 million for its 16 hours of prime-time programming.
NBC, CBS and ABC each broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming. ABC and Fox were the only major broadcast networks without prime-time NFL programming last week.
The week’s highest-rated program was the Houston Texans’ 28-22 victory over the New England Patriots on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which averaged 21.445 million viewers. That’s a 4.9 percent increase from over the 20.442 million average for last year’s Thanksgiving week “Sunday Night Football” game, a 24-17 victory by the Minnesota Vikings over the Green Bay Packers.
“Sunday Night Football” has been the prime-time program with the highest rating nine times in the 13-week NFL season.
NBC’s coverage of the Thanksgiving prime-time NFL game, a 26-18 victory by the New Orleans Saints over the Atlanta Falcons, was second for the week, averaging 20.808 million viewers. That was 5.9 percent less than the 21.727 million average for last year’s Thanksgiving prime-time game, a 31-17 victory by the Saints over the Falcons.
Viewership for nearly all forms of programming has declined in recent years because of increased viewership of streaming programming, including the same programs shown on traditional television.
CBS’ “60 Minutes” was ranked fifth overall, averaging 12.531 million viewers, the highest rating for a non-NFL program. Viewership for the newsmagazine was bolstered in the Eastern and Central time zones by a 30-minute runover of CBS’ afternoon NFL coverage into prime time, which averaged 21.84 million viewers.
CBS’ action drama “NCIS” was the only other non-NFL program to average more than 9 million viewers, averaging 11.050 million viewers, eighth overall. NCIS has been the top-rated scripted program each week this season.
Despite airing a rerun, CBS’ “Young Sheldon” was the highest-rated comedy for the ninth time this season, averaging 8.97 million viewers, 10th overall.
“Bob Hearts Abishola” was the most-watched new series, averaging 5.657 million viewers, 29th overall. CBS has had the highest-rated new series each week of the season.
NBC’s top-ranked non-NFL program was the Tuesday edition of “The Voice,” 13th for the week, averaging 7.873 million viewers.
ABC’s top program was the 28th season finale of “Dancing With the Stars,” 14th for the week, averaging 7.759 million viewers, nearly matching the 7.883 million average for last fall’s finale.
Without a “Thursday Night Football” game, the drama “9-1-1” drew Fox’s highest rating, placing 21st for the week, averaging 6.153 million viewers.
The absence of “Thursday Night Football” also ended Fox’s eight-week winning streak among viewers ages 18-49. NBC averaged 2.76 million viewers among the group targeted by it, ABC and Fox as well as by advertisers. CBS was second, averaging 1.25 million, followed by Fox, which averaged 1.02 million, and ABC, which averaged 830,000.
The top-ranked cable program was the Baltimore Ravens’ 45-6 victory over the Rams on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Nov. 25, which averaged 11.35 million viewers, sixth for the week. “Monday Night Football” has had the highest ratings of any cable program for each of its first 12 weeks of the 2019 NFL season.
ESPN won the cable network race for the third time in four weeks, averaging 2.781 million viewers. With its “Christmas Town” and “Christmas in Rome” movies drawing cable’s largest non-NFL audiences of the week, Hallmark Channel was second, averaging 2.447 million.
Fox News Channel averaged 2.139 million viewers to finish third, a week after finishing first.