The big NFL prime-time series of 10 telecasts has averaged Nielsen 20.3 million viewers in its live program/same day results. This is down 10% from the average 22.5 million viewers a year ago.
Early on, all NFL programming was hit in 2016 with big viewership losses -- anywhere from 15% to 20% in some cases -- partly due to heightened interest in the election as well as other issues. In recent weeks, as the season concluded, NFL viewership climbed.
This past season, “Sunday Night Football” also had the best adult 18-49 rating of the season so far -- averaging a Nielsen 7.0 number. A year ago, “SNF” averaged a Nielsen 7.8 18-49 rating. AMC’s “Walking Dead” has been in second place so far this season with a 5.6 rating.
NBC says that adding in digital viewing of its Sunday games adds another 200,000 to its linear TV viewing of “SNF” -- an average of 20.5 million.
“SNF” has been the No. 1-viewed TV show for six years -- since the 2011-2012 TV season.
This season so far, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” has been next best at 20 million overall Nielsen viewers in its live program-plus-seven day time-shifted data. CBS’ “NCIS” has been averaging 18.7 million, followed by NBC/CBS/NFL Network “Thursday Night Football” at 17 million (live/same day) and AMC’s “The Walking Dead at 16.9 million.