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‘Sunday Night Football’ scores ratings touchdown against reruns

Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams catches a touchdown pass during a "Sunday Night Football" game against the Tennessee Titans.
Green Bay Packers’ Davante Adams catches a touchdown pass during the first half of a “Sunday Night Football” game against the Tennessee Titans.
(Associated Press)

Facing little original competition, “Sunday Night Football” drew prime-time television’s largest audience since Nov. 22, despite a one-sided victory by the Green Bay Packers, helping NBC to its seventh ratings victory in the 14-week-old 2020-21 season.

The Packers’ 40-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans averaged 18.374 million viewers, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Wednesday by Nielsen. That was the most since the Kansas City Chiefs’ 35-31 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on “Sunday Night Football” Nov. 22 averaged 19.573 million viewers.

“Sunday Night Football” was the prime-time ratings winner for the ninth consecutive week. Viewership was up 17.7% over the previous week, the Cleveland Browns’ 20-6 victory over the New York Giants, which averaged 15.61 million viewers.

Opposite “Sunday Night Football,” CBS aired reruns of “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “NCIS: New Orleans” and “NCIS.” Fox aired the premiere of “The Masked Dancer,” its winter preview special and a rerun of “Family Guy.”

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ABC aired reruns of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and two reruns of “Supermarket Sweep.”

With little original nonsports programming, as is the Christmas Week tradition, the season finale of “The Bachelorette” was the highest-rated entertainment program, averaging 5.552 million viewers, 10th overall, second among nonsports programs.

Topping the ABC dating series were three NFL games; three NFL pregame shows; Fox’s NFL postgame show, “The OT”; a broadcast of CBS’ “60 Minutes” with three repeat segments; and the Lakers-Dallas Mavericks Christmas Day game on ABC.

“The Price Is Right at Night,” averaging 5.4 million viewers, finished 11th for the week, third among nonsports programs and second for entertainment programs.

NBC won the network battle for the seventh time in the season after back-to-back second-place finishes, averaging 4.72 million viewers between Dec. 21 and Sunday.

ABC was second, averaging 3.3 million, followed by CBS, which averaged 3.12 million, and Fox, which averaged 2.95 million viewers.

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Outside of its NFL programming, NBC’s top-rated program was its Christmas Eve presentation of the classic 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” 14th for the week, seventh among nonsports programs and sixth among entertainment programs, averaging 4.75 million viewers.

ABC’s biggest audience was for the Lakers’ 138-115 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, ninth for the week, averaging 5.674 million viewers.

Fox’s “The Masked Dancer” averaged 5.12 million viewers, which landed it 12th for the week, fourth among nonsports programs and third among entertainment programs.

“The Masked Dancer” followed a 47-minute runover of Fox’s afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones and its 13-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT.” Viewership figures for the runover were not immediately available. “The OT” averaged 10.99 million viewers, third for the week.

The top-rated cable program was the Cincinnati Bengals’ 27-17 upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Dec. 21, averaging 13.184 million viewers, third for the week.

ESPN beat all cable networks after back-to-back second-place finishes, averaging 2.763 million viewers. Fox News Channel finished second after winning the previous two weeks and 45 times in 48 weeks, averaging 2.382 million viewers. MSNBC was third, averaging 1.562 million.


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