Returning ‘Yellowstone’ gallops in ratings race, but NFL still wins the game

A man in a black cowboy hat, black suit and a tie, stands outdoors with mountains behind him
The Season 5 premiere of “Yellowstone,” starring Kevin Costner, averaged a combined 12.493 million viewers on seven Paramount cable networks.

The fifth-season premiere of “Yellowstone” drew the largest audience of any non-sports cable or broadcast program in the 8-week-old 2022-23 prime-time television season, and its second episode, which immediately followed, drew the second-largest.

Sunday’s season premiere of the Kevin Costner-starring neo-Western averaged 12.493 million viewers combined on seven Paramount cable networks, including 9.409 million on the Paramount Network, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday. The 73-minute second episode averaged 11.289 million viewers, including 8.439 million on Paramount Network.

Paramount Network’s viewership for the season premiere was the most for any cable program between Nov. 7 and Sunday and fourth overall behind Fox’s NFL postgame show Sunday, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and its pre-kickoff show.


Viewership for the second episode of “Yellowstone” was sixth for the week, trailing the Nov. 7 “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN, which averaged 9.356 million viewers for the Baltimore Ravens’ 27-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

The 56th annual CMA Awards on ABC averaged 7.454 million viewers, eighth for the week, third among entertainment programs. The audience was the ceremony’s largest since 2019 when it averaged 11.278 million viewers.

CBS’ “Young Sheldon” was the top-rated comedy for the seventh time in the seven episodes it has aired this season, averaging 7.135 million viewers, 11th for the week, seventh among non-sports programs and fourth among entertainment programs.

The CBS police procedural “East New York” was the highest-ranked new series for the fourth time in its six episodes, averaging 4.696 million viewers, 24th for the week, 17th among non-sports programs and 13th among entertainment programs.

“Sunday Night Football” had its second-smallest audience among its 10 broadcasts of the 2022 season, 15.843 million viewers, for the San Francisco 49ers’ 22-16 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers were held scoreless in the second half after leading 16-10 at halftime.

With the World Series concluded, NBC returned to the top of the ratings, averaging 5.02 million viewers. Outside of its NFL programming, NBC’s ratings leader was “Chicago Fire,” 16th for the week, 10th among non-sports programs and seventh among entertainment programs, averaging 6.137 million viewers.


Fox was second after its back-to-back first-place finishes the previous two weeks with the World Series, averaging 4.45 million viewers, including 63 minutes of NFL programming Sunday that averaged 29.77 million viewers.

Fox’s ratings leader was its seven-minute NFL postgame show, which averaged 18.132 million viewers following a 56-minute runover of afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones, where the bulk of the nation’s population lives. Viewership for the runover was not available. It is not considered a separate program but is included in the network’s weekly average.

Fox’s top non-NFL program was an episode of “The Simpsons,” which followed the postgame show and averaged 4.771 million viewers, 22nd for the week, 15th among non-sports programs and 11th among entertainment programs.

ABC finished third, averaging 3.92 million viewers. CBS was fourth, averaging 3.65 million. “60 Minutes” was its most-watched program, averaging a season-low 6.769 million viewers, 13th for the week and eighth among non-sports programs.

The CW averaged 420,000 viewers. The crime drama “Walker” was its biggest draw for the third time in six weeks, averaging 768,000 viewers, 126th among broadcast programs. Its overall ranking was not available.

The top 20 prime-time programs consisted of Fox’s NFL postgame show; two NFL games; three NFL pregame shows; two episodes of “Yellowstone”; three Fox News Channel hourlong election results segments; the CMA Awards; “60 Minutes”; three CBS scripted programs; three NBC entertainment programs; and the Fox procedural drama “9-1-1.”

The combination of its coverage of the midterm elections results and weeknight political talk shows made Fox News Channel the week’s top-ranked cable network, averaged 3.151 million viewers. ESPN averaged 2.194 million viewers to finish second after back-to-back first-place finishes, five in six weeks and eight in 10 weeks.

MSNBC was third, averaging 1.655 million viewers, followed by Paramount Network, which averaged 1.582 million viewers, and Hallmark Channel, averaging 1.233 million viewers.

CNN was the only other cable network to average more than 1 million viewers for its prime-time programming, averaging 1.194 million, sixth for the week.

Fox News Channel averaged 7.422 million viewers for its prime-time election coverage on Nov. 8, 131.2% more than MSNBC’s average of 3.21 million.

The cable top 20 consisted of three episodes of “Yellowstone”; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and its 15-minute kickoff show; all three of Fox News Channel’s hourlong election results segments; two of MSNBC’s hourlong election results segments; nine Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows (four broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” three of “Hannity” and two of “The Ingraham Angle”); and ESPN’s coverage of Saturday’s Georgia-Mississippi State college football game.

The fifth season of “The Crown” was Netflix’s most-streamed program, with viewers watching its 10 episodes for 107.39 million hours over the first five days they were available.

“Manifest” dropped one spot to second, with viewers watching the first 10 episodes of the supernatural drama’s fourth season for 74.78 million hours in their first full week of release, 31.1% more than the 57.06 million hours watched the previous week when they were available for three days.

“Enola Holmes 2” was Netflix’s most popular movie for the second time in the two weeks it has been available, with viewers spending 62.86 million hours watching the mystery in its first full week of release, 1.9% less than the 64.08 million hours watched the previous week when it was available for three days.