Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning took on his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday night, and the homecoming turned out to be a massive draw for NBC's "Sunday Night Football."
NBC easily won the night in primetime with an average audience of 21.5 million viewers, according to early numbers from Nielsen that are not adjusted for time zones and therefore subject to change for live sports.
The Colts beat the Broncos 39-33.
In Nielsen's metered market ratings, which are time-zone-adjusted, the game scored a rating of 17.3 from 8:30 p.m. to 12:15 a.m., making it the highest rated October National Football League telecast in 15 years, and also posting a 48% gain over last year's Week Seven primetime game on NBC.
The game also came out victorious in the advertiser-desired 18-to-49 demographic with a rating of 10.0, besting AMC's "The Walking Dead," which posted a 6.1.
Assisted by an NFL overrun, CBS drew an average of 12.3 million viewers Sunday night and a 2.7 in the key demographic, the second-biggest draw among the big four networks, with "60 Minutes" (14.9 million viewers) "The Amazing Race" (9.02 million), "The Good Wife" (8.97 million) and "The Mentalist" (7.91 million).
Fox was also affected by football overruns so its numbers are likely inaccurate too. Still, according to the tentative figures, Fox, which had all reruns in its animated comedy lineup, drew an average of 2.69 million viewers and a 1.1 rating.
On ABC, "Once Upon a Time" fell 17% from last week to a series low of 2.0 in the 18-to-49 demographic and drew about 7 million viewers.
The network's new 10 p.m. drama "Betrayal" rose 13% in the 18-to-49 demographic to a 0.9 and 24% in total viewers to 3.58 million. In the 9-10 p.m. slot leading into "Betrayal," "Revenge" posted a 1.5 in the 18-to-49 demographic, down 6% from last week, though its total viewership increased 2%.