TV ratings: Football dominates Sunday night

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning passes with under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Football won the night for NBC among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds Sunday night. But overruns from an explosive game between the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys helped CBS score a victory in total viewership.

On NBC, the contest between the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans drew about 14.4-million viewers and a rating of 5.7 in prime time in the 18-to-49 demographic, according to early numbers from Nielsen. The preliminary numbers for live football are not adjusted for time zones, so they are likely to change when the real stats come out later in the day.

Still, if the numbers hold, it looks like NBC won in the key 18-to-49 demo, with a rating of 4.9, for which a ratings point equals about 1.3-million viewers. That’s down about 15% from the early numbers for last week’s Sunday night game on NBC.

PHOTOS: Cable versus broadcast ratings


The 49ers won 34-3, the most one-sided victory for a “Sunday Night Football” game since November 2011, according to NBC, so viewers may have understandably lost interest later in the game.

On CBS, there was much more of a nail-biter that ran into prime time. Giving CBS the major assist was the high-scoring matchup between Tony Romo’s Cowboys and Peyton Manning’s Broncos.

With the QB contest, which resulted in a 51-48 victory for Denver, CBS had more than 29-million viewers in the 7-7:30 p.m. half-hour, to give an idea.

ON LOCATION: Where the cameras roll

The football overrun gave CBS a big boost in prime-time viewership, to make it the most-watched major network Sunday night.

The NFL lifted the rest of the network’s lineup for the night, which included “60 Minutes,” “The Amazing Race,” “The Good Wife” and “The Mentalist,” but all the numbers are approximate.

CBS also carried the game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders in the Bay Area and San Diego markets.

ABC had “Once Upon a Time,” which fell just 4% from last week’s premiere in 18-to-49 to a 2.5 rating and drew 7.7-million viewers. “Revenge” fell 17% to a 1.9, while “Betrayal” dropped 27% to a 1.1.


Fox had an all-animated comedy lineup starting with “The Simpsons,” which got 6.3-million viewers and held steady with last week for a 2.9 in the key demo.

“Bob’s Burgers” fell 14% from last week’s premiere to a 1.9, while “Family Guy” fell just 4% to a 2.5. “American Dad” grew to a 2.1 in 18-to-49, flat with last week.


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