‘Masked Singer’ hits highest rating for entertainment show since April

Broccoli (Paul Anka) in "The Masked Singer" on Fox.
Broccoli (Paul Anka) on Fox’s unscripted series “The Masked Singer.”
(Michael Becker / Fox)

“The Masked Singer” airing on Thanksgiving drew the largest audience for a prime-time entertainment program since April, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Wednesday.

The episode where singer Paul Anka was unmasked as Broccoli averaged 11.424 million viewers, the most for a prime-time entertainment program since April 15, when the season finale of the CBS action drama “NCIS” averaged 13.501 million viewers.

In the Eastern and Central time zones where the bulk of the nation’s population lives, “The Masked Singer” followed Fox’s telecast of the Dallas Cowboys versus Washington NFL game, which averaged 30.333 million viewers, the most for any program since Super Bowl LIV.


“The Masked Singer” was fifth among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Nov. 23 and Sunday, trailing two NFL games, “60 Minutes” and the nine-minute “Sunday Night Football” prekickoff show.

“Sunday Night Football” was the top-rated prime-time program for the fifth consecutive week despite a 15.8% drop in viewership from the previous week. The Green Bay Packers’ 41-25 victory over the Chicago Bears averaged 16.483 million viewers in a game Green Bay led 27-10 at halftime and 41-10 after three quarters.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ 35-31 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders a week earlier averaged 19.573 million viewers, the largest audience for a prime-time program since the NFL Kickoff Game Sept. 10 game. There were four fourth-quarter lead changes in the Nov. 22 game, with Travis Kelce catching the winning touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes with 28 seconds to play.

Despite “Sunday Night Football’s” viewership drop, NBC won the network race for the fourth consecutive week and fifth time in the 10-week-old 2020-21 television season, averaging 5.27 million viewers.

In a week with a higher number of reruns than usual on Thursday and Friday because of Thanksgiving, CBS was second, averaging 4.87 million viewers, and ABC third, averaging 3.2 million. Cable’s ESPN was fourth, averaging 2.953 million. Fox averaged 2.46 million.

“60 Minutes” was the week’s top-ranked non-NFL program, finishing second overall, averaging 13.777 million. The newsmagazine followed a 35-minute overrun of CBS’ afternoon NFL coverage, which averaged 26.37 million viewers. The overrun is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.


CBS also had each of the week’s six highest-rated scripted programs, topped by “NCIS,” eighth overall, averaging 10.162 million viewers. CBS also had the most viewers for any comedy, with “The Neighborhood,” which averaged 5.462 million viewers, fourth among scripted programs, ninth among entertainment programs and 17th overall.

The CBS crime drama “FBI: Most Wanted” was the week’s top-rated 10 p.m. program, averaging 5.664 million viewers, third among scripted programs, eighth among entertainment programs and 16th overall.

ABC’s largest audience was for the “Dancing With the Stars” season finale, which averaged 6.423 million viewers, 13th for the week and sixth among entertainment programs.

The Rams’ 27-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on “Monday Night Football” Nov. 23 topped the week’s list of cable programs, averaging 13.136 million viewers, fourth overall.

ESPN was the top cable network, averaging 2.953 million viewers. Hallmark Channel was second, averaging 2.527 million, and Fox News Channel third, averaging 1.998 million after 42 first-place finishes in the previous 44 weeks.