UPDATED-Sunday Ratings: CBS Wins with NFL and Obama, NBC with Romo, Fox with Family Guy

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November 17th, 2008

Scoreboard CBS NBC ABC FOX Uni CW
Total Viewers (million) 16.59 13.94 11.05 6.73 2.78 .58
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 4.4/11 5.3/13 3.9/9 3.1/7 1.1/3 0.2/0
Rating/Share: Adults 18-34 3.2/8 4.8/13 2.9/8 3.8/10 1.2/3 0.2/1

10:00am PST: Updated with show data table below.

CBS won the night in total viewers, fueled by roughly 30 minutes of NFL football overrun and 60 Minutes worth of president elect Barack Obama. Due to the nature of the way overnight ratings are calculated (see definitions below) the numbers for CBS are subject to change, but it looks like CBS averaged 24.49 million viewers for 60 Minutes with Obama, and while there was a drop off from half hour to half hour (first half hour 25.11 million, second 23.866) it wasn't huge. According to CBS, 60 Minutes was partying like it's 1999.

NBC easily won both the 18-49 and 18-34 year old demos with a Sunday Night Football contest featuring the Dallas Cowboys (beating up on my Washington Redskins). The Redskins losing at home to the Cowboys is bad news for me, but having the Cowboys is always good news for the networks as they seem to command the highest national ratings. That nonsense about "America's Team" may not be nonsense.

60 Minutes also dominated with 18-49 year olds, pulling a 6.4/16 (rating/share) between 7:30-8:30p. It also fared well with 18-34 year olds (4.7/13), though in the second half hour Bart Simpson narrowly defeated the president elect among 18-34 year olds (4.7/13 to 4.6/12). But The Simpsons still got spanked that half hour among 18-49 year olds (6.3/15 to 3.9/9), but considering it had around a third of the viewers (8.52 million), not too shabby.

What's somewhat surprising to me here is to see ABC lagging to a fourth place finish for the night among 18-34 year olds. Sure, CBS isn't going to have NFL overrun and Obama every Sunday night, but that still has to be a little disconcerting for the Mouse. It can savor that at least it was third among 18-49 year olds. And Desperate Housewives finished second among 18-49 year olds, but trailed both the football game and Family Guy among 18-34 year olds in the 9pm half hour (DH got a 4.6/11 to FG's 5.4/13). And things aren't all bad at ABC, DH with 16.55 million viewers was up vs. last week's 15.71 in the overnights.

Seeing the half hourly data for the Sunday Night Football game is somewhat interesting. The 8:30pm half hour had the most viewers of the event (17.68 million) but the 10pm half hour the most 18-49 viewers (6.7/16) but the 10:30pm half hour the most 18-34 viewers of the contest (6.3/17).

Last Sunday's overnight details are available if you want to compare.

Full details:

Time Net Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share 18-34 Rating/Share
7:00 CBS NFL Football Overun 25.34 7.7/21 6.3/20
ABC NASCAR Racing: Sprint Cup 7.37 2.4/7 1.4/5
NBC Football Night in America 7.31 2.7/8 2.1/7
FOX King of the Hill (R) 3.83 1.5/4 1.6/5
CW In Harms Way (R) 0.71 0.2/1 0.3/1
7:30 CBS 60 Minutes 24.49 6.4/16 4.7/13
FOX The Simpsons (R) 5.58 2.4/6 2.8/8
8:00 NBC Football Night in America 11.82 4.5/11 4.0/11
ABC Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 10.21 3.4/8 2.5/6
FOX The Simpsons 8.52 3.9/9 4.7/13
CW Valentine (R) 0.55 0.2/0 0.2/1
8:30 NBC Sunday Night Football 8:30-11p 17.02 6.5/15 6.0/15
CBS The Amazing Race 12.25 3.4/8 2.4/6
FOX King of the Hill 7.04 3.2/7 3.9/10
9:00 ABC Desperate Housewives 16.55 6.1/13 4.8/12
FOX Family Guy 8.52 4.2/9 5.4/13
CW Easy Money (R) 0.48 0.1/0 0.1/0
9:30 CBS Cold Case 12.05 2.9/7 1.8/5
FOX American Dad 6.78 3.2/7 4.2/10
10:00 ABC Brothers & Sisters 10.07 3.7/9 2.9/8
10:30 CBS The Unit 9.80 2.5/6 1.6/4

Shows are sorted by viewers in each time slot.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2008 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live football game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs which are currently in approximately 24.4% of all U.S. TV households. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

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