NFL Games Boost Nets
In the middle of a long holiday weekend, Sunday night didn't attract many viewers to network television, but NBC still ended up on top.
NBC's "Sunday Night Football" -- TV's highest-rated show -- still carried the night, although much lower than the week before. The game -- where the Seattle Seahawks bested the San Francisco 49ers -- had a Nielsen preliminary 5.3 rating/15 share among 18-49 viewers. This was way down from the 8.7 rating of a week before.
Overall, NBC earned a 4.6/14 on the Sunday night before the Christmas holiday.
Fox was next at a 3.0 rating/9 share -- virtually doubling its 1.5 rating/5 share result of a week ago. Fox benefited from a healthy NFL afternoon game, which ran over into prime time. The New York Giants/Baltimore Ravens game pulled in a 5.6/19 for the 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. half hour.
Fox did air the only two scripted series for the night: "Family Guy" scored a 2.5/7, down 18% from its last original episode, and "American Dad" posted a 1.9/5, down 17%.
CBS went in the other direction -- losing about nearly two-thirds of its overall audience to 6.4 million, from 17.0 million viewers the previous week.
Against last week's "Survivor" finale, as well as in the absence of its own big NFL afternoon lead-in this week, CBS went into rerun mode for its regular scripted Sunday night programming, in addition to "60 Minutes." This gave it a 0.9/3 on the night, versus a 4.9/12 the week before.
ABC's annual telecast of "The Sound of Music" earned a 1.1/3 between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. This was up over 20% from the 0.9 rating of a year ago.