Sunday Ratings: NFL Wins the Night

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December 29th, 2008

Scoreboard CBS NBC ABC FOX Uni CW
Total Viewers (million) 11.20 10.90 6.32 6.10 2.12 1.27
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 2.5/7 4.0/11 1.6/4 2.6/7 0.7/2 0.3/1
Rating/Share: Adults 18-34 1.9/6 3.2/10 1.1/3 2.7/8 0.7/2 0.2/1

While typically only one network between Fox and CBS gets to broadcast an NFL game nationally that spills over into Sunday primetime, on the final day of the NFL regular season both networks did. But CBS had more and better overrun (I suppose as New England Patriots' fans watched in horror as their playoff hopes depended on the New York Jets). CBS averaged 18.611 million viewers from 7:00p-7:30p, nearly twice Fox's 9.706 million for the half hour. It was enough to spur CBS to a win for the night in terms of viewers, edging out NBC.

NBC's Sunday Night Football still almost took the night even though it seemed the San Diego Chargers had the game and the struggling Denver Broncos well in hand before halftime. NBC won both the 18-49 and 18-34 year old demographics for the night. While Sunday Night Football is over, NBC still has two more days and nights of football left: one next Saturday when it has two games including an 8pm contest featuring the Indianapolis Colts vs. the San Diego Chargers, and Super Bowl XLIII on Feburary 1. ESPN has the full playoff schedule picture including times and networks.

Though Fox's overrun was less than CBS, between the overrun, The OT and repeats of its animations, Fox still took second for the night among 18-34 year olds. Million Dollar Password performed solidly for CBS -- keeping in mind that because of the NFL coverage the numbers are more apt to change than normal and the schedule got mucked up, it appears that the 9pm-9:30pm half hour was pretty much all Password and it drew over 10 million viewers and had a 2.1 rating for the half hour.

The hills, sadly, are no longer so much alive with The Sound of Music. ABC's annual airing had no half hour where it could draw even 8 million viewers, and only managed to hit a 2.0 rating among 18-49 year olds during the 9p-10p hour.

While the CW obviously doesn't target 18-34 year olds on Sundays the Jericho reruns plus an old movie (last night, Revenge of the Pink Panther) are doing better than the shows MRC programmed for CW in the fall, Telemundo had many more 18-34 viewers than the CW. Telemundo tied with Univision among 18-34s with a .7 rating vs. CW's .2. Telemundo averaged 1.142 million viewers for the night.

Happy holidays!

Full details: We will resume data tables with hourly data on Monday, January 5, 2009 if not sooner. For last night's half hourly details, visit Marc Berman's site.


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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