NFL kicks Fox to a win in Dec. 7-13 Nielsen ratings

The Pittsburgh Steelers versus Washington.
Fox’s broadcast of the Pittsburgh Steelers-Washington NFL game helped lift the network to the top of the weekly ratings.
(Associated Press)

Two prime-time NFL games and the runover of its Sunday afternoon coverage enabled Fox to end NBC’s five-week streak at the top of the network ratings.

Fox averaged 7.28 million viewers for its 18 hours of prime-time programming between Dec. 7 and Sunday for its fourth victory of the 12-week-old 2020-21 television season, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by Nielsen. NBC was second, averaging 5.19 million, followed by CBS, which averaged 4.64 million, and ABC, which averaged 3.79 million.

NBC, CBS and ABC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.

Fox’s “Thursday Night Football” telecast of the Rams’ 24-3 victory over the New England Patriots averaged 13.636 million viewers, third for the week.


The Baltimore Ravens’ 34-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 8, also on Fox, averaged 13.54 million viewers, fourth for the week. The game initially was scheduled to be the Dec. 3 “Thursday Night Football” game but was rescheduled because of coronavirus issues among the Ravens.

Fox benefited from the 48-minute runover of its Sunday afternoon NFL coverage into prime time, which averaged 21.189 million viewers, and a 31-minute overrun of the Dec. 7 afternoon NFL game between Washington and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which averaged 10.293 million viewers.

The overruns are not considered a separate program but are included in the weekly average.

Outside of its NFL programming, Fox’s highest-rated program was “The Masked Singer,” 25th overall, 15th among non-NFL programs and 14th among entertainment programs.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was at the top of the prime-time ratings for the seventh consecutive week, with the Buffalo Bills’ 26-15 victory over Pittsburgh averaging 17.053 million viewers.

The ABC-ESPN simulcast of the Dec. 7 “Monday Night Football” game averaged a combined 14.174 million viewers, second for the week. Buffalo’s 34-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers averaged 7.763 million viewers on ESPN, the most among the week’s cable programs, and 6.411 million on ABC, the network’s most-watched program.

CBS’ “60 Minutes” was the top-rated non-NFL program for the third consecutive week, averaging 9.098 million viewers, eighth overall.


CBS also had the biggest audience for an entertainment program with “NCIS,” 10th overall and second among non-NFL programs, averaging 8.53 million viewers, and the most-watched comedy, “Bob Hearts Abishola,” 20th overall, 11th among non-NFL programs and 10th among entertainment programs.

The top three cable networks were the same as the previous week. Fox News Channel was first for the 44th time in 47 weeks, averaging 2.687 million viewers. ESPN was second, averaging 2.22 million, and MSNBC was third, averaging 2.09 million.

“The Queen’s Gambit” was the most streamed program for the third time in the three full weeks it was available, among the four streaming services measured in the latest weekly report from Nielsen.

Viewers watched 1.373 billion minutes of the seven-episode Netflix miniseries from Nov. 9-15. The 2005-13 NBC comedy “The Office” was second for the fourth consecutive week, with 1.089 billion minutes watched of its 192 episodes.

Each of the top four programs was unchanged from the previous week.

“The Mandalorian” was third for the third consecutive week, with 873 million minutes watched of its 11 episodes, including the third episode of its second season, which became available Nov. 13.

The Disney+ “Star Wars” series was the only non-Netflix programming in the top 10 for the second consecutive week.


The Emmy-winning comedy “Schitt’s Creek” was fourth, with 855 million minutes watched of its 80 episodes.

The only program in the top 10 not in the previous week’s was “The Crown,” whose 10-episode fourth season was released Nov. 15. The Netflix series about the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II was fifth, with viewers watching 807 million minutes of its 40 episodes.

The top 10 consisted of three original streaming programs, six programs that originally aired on North American broadcast networks and the British import “The Great British Baking Show.”