New Year’s Eve programs join football atop the TV rankings

Ryan Seacrest, wearing a black tuxedo, tie and mask, holds a microphone.
ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2022” was the highest rated New Year’s Eve program.
(Jeff Neira/ABC)
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The fourth-season finale of the modern western series “Yellowstone” averaged 10.3 million viewers, its biggest audience ever, on Paramount Network and CMT, making it the top-rated non-sports program for the third consecutive week .

“Yellowstone” ranked seventh among prime-time programs airing between Dec. 27 and Sunday, trailing two NFL games, two NFL pregame shows, Fox’s 23-minute NFL postgame show “The OT” and the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen on Wednesday.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was at the top of the rankings for the 13th time in the 15-week-old 2021-22 prime-time television season, with the Green Bay Packers’ 37-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings averaging 18.545 million viewers, fifth among the season’s 17 “Sunday Night Football” games, trailing two previous Green Bay telecasts.


The 10-11 p.m. segment of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2022” had the most viewers of any New Year’s Eve entertainment program and was ABC’s ratings leader, averaging 8.875 million viewers, ninth for the week and second among entertainment programs.

Five nights of bowl games plus “Monday Night Football” put ESPN at the top of the network list, averaging 8.086 million viewers. NBC was second, averaging 4.42 million, followed by CBS, which averaged 3.94 million, Fox, which averaged 2.98 million, and ABC, which averaged 2.81 million.

CBS’ top-rated show was “60 Minutes,” which averaged 7.094 million viewers, 11th for the week and third among non-sports programs. The broadcast featured an expanded version of Jon Wertheim’s report from May 9 on Jews who escaped the Nazis during World War II and returned to fight Hitler as part of a secret American military intelligence group trained in espionage and psychological warfare.

The CW averaged 460,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. Its biggest draw was a rerun of its special “Dogs of the Year 2021,” which averaged 656,000 viewers, 178th among broadcast programming, one spot behind a rerun of an episode of the 1965-71 CBS comedy “Hogan’s Heroes” on Me TV.

The only premiere on the five major broadcast networks, the Fox cooking competition “Next Level Chef,” was 20th for the week and 10th among non-sports programming, averaging 5.081 million viewers Sunday following “The OT,” which averaged 14.249 million, fourth for the week and first among Fox programs.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of two NFL games; four NFL pregame shows; Fox’s 23-minute NFL postgame show “The OT”; three college football bowl games; three New Year’s Eve entertainment programs; “Yellowstone”; “60 Minutes”; four CBS entertainment programs; and Fox’s “Next Level Chef.”


ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl led the cable rankings, with Georgia’s 34-11 victory over Michigan averaging 16.506 million viewers, second for the week overall.

Fox News Channel was second behind ESPN in the cable network race for the second consecutive week after three first-place finishes in five weeks, averaging 1.723 million viewers. Paramount Network was third, averaging 1.587 million viewers.

“Don’t Look Up” was the most-watched English-language film on Netflix for the second consecutive week with viewership increasing 37.2% from the previous week, according to figures released Tuesday by the streaming service.

In its first full week of release, viewers spent 152.29 million hours between Dec. 27 and Sunday watching the dark comedy about an approaching comet that will destroy Earth. “Don’t Look Up” was watched for 111.03 million hours the previous week when it was available for three days.

“The Unforgivable” was second for the second consecutive week after two first-place finishes, with 21.31 million hours watched, 19.9% less than the 26.6 million hours watched the previous week.

The fourth season of “Cobra Kai” topped English-language television programs with its 10 episodes being watched for 120.6 million hours in their first three days of release.