NFL Scores Big Prime-Time Numbers

NFL

Although many prime-time TV shows may be losing steam, rating-wise, the NFL keeps chugging along -- up 7% in total viewers this season.

Looking at all NFL networks -- Fox, NBC, CBS, ESPN and NFL Network -- the NFL pulled in 17.9 million viewers, up 1.3 million from a year ago and just under its all-time average of 18.0 million set in the 1989 season.

The NFL also touts its big advantage over all prime-time programming -- some 144% higher on average in total viewers than other TV shows. ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC get 8.2 million on average. NFL games accounted for the 19 most-watched TV shows among all programming last fall, up from 11 games last year.

All the NFL's TV partners showed ratings growth.

NBC moved up to an average of 21.4 million viewers for its "Sunday Night Football" package, the highest ever for the series. Fox's Sunday afternoon game was the most-watched of all NFL games, with 25.9 million viewers. CBS had its best ratings in two decades, just behind Fox with an average of 25.0 million viewers.

ESPN's "Monday Night Football" was again the most-watched series on cable with an average of 14.7 million viewers. NFL Network, completing its fifth season of "Thursday Night Football," had its best results, with an average of 5.7 million cable viewers.

The Fox Thanksgiving game, New Orleans Saints-Dallas Cowboys, was the most-watched show of the fall broadcast season and most-watched Thanksgiving game in 12 years with 31.9 million viewers. NBC's Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys game on Dec. 12 was the most-watched Sunday Night Football game ever, with 25.73 million viewers.

ESPN's New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons, the last game of the year for the "Monday Night Football" series, pulled in an average of 19.1 million viewers.

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