The Cowboys and Bengals opened up the exhibition football season with exactly the sort of messy game you'd expect from the preseason, but viewers didn't care about quality. They were just happy to have football of any kind back, giving NBC an easy Sunday ratings win.
Among adults 18-49, NBC averaged a strong 3.3 rating, way ahead of the 1.6 ratings for both FOX and CBS in the key demographic. ABC's 1.1 rating was fourth.
Overall, NBC averaged an estimated 9.096 million viewers to go with a 5.5 rating/10 share. CBS was second with a 4.3/8, well ahead of the 2.6/5 for ABC or FOX's 2.0/4.
CBS got a big audience for "60 Minutes
" in the 7 p.m. hour, doing a 6.2/12 for first overall. ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" repeat was second, nipping the 3.4/7 for NBC's sports coverage, which won the hour with a 2.1 demo rating. FOX's repeats of "American Dad" and "The Simpsons" finished fourth with a 1.4/3.
The start of the preseason game between Dallas and Cincinnati moved NBC into first in the 8 p.m. hour with a 6.8/12 and a 4.1 demo rating. CBS' "Big Brother
" was a respectable second with a 4.5/8. ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" had a 3.1/5 for third, beating FOX's repeats of "The Simpsons" and "The Cleveland Show."
The Cowboys and Bengals slipped to a 6.2/10 and a 3.8 demo rating in the 9 p.m. hour, though NBC still won easily. CBS' repeat of "Undercover Boss" was second. FOX's two "Family Guy" repeats had a 2.5/4 for third overall and finished second in the demo. ABC's "Scoundrels
" was fourth with a 2.1/3.
The football game had a 5.5/10 for NBC in the 10 p.m. hour, also averaging a 3.3 demo rating. CBS' repeat of "The Good Wife" was a distant second. ABC's "The Gates
" had a 1.8/3 for third on the hour.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change, particularly in the case of live events.