A competitive, gritty rivalry game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens delivered strong Sunday Night Football ratings to NBC, helping the network dominate the evening.
Among adults 18-49, NBC averaged a 5.7 rating, topping the 4.6 rating for NFL-aided FOX. CBS was a distant third in the all-important demographic with a 2.6 rating, nipping the 2.5 rating for ABC.
Overall, NBC averaged an estimated 16.065 million viewers and a 9.6 rating/15 share. FOX was second with 11.58 million viewers and a 6.7/10, edging CBS' 6.6/10 and 10.89 million viewers. ABC, the only network whose numbers were completely unaffected by NFL coverage, finished fourth with 8.7 million viewers and a 5.3/8.
7 p.m. -- FOX's NFL overrun started primetime in first with 20.79 million viewers and a 7.5 rating among adults 18-49. CBS, which experienced roughly 20 minutes of NFL overrun in a number of key markets, got a 7.5/12 for "60 Minutes" in second overall, but third in the demo. ABC was third overall with "America's Funniest Home Videos," which came in fourth overall. With plenty of actual football action in the hour, NBC's "Football Night In America" did only 7.08 million viewers for fourth, but finished second in the demo.
8 p.m. -- The start of Sunday Night Football gave NBC an estimated 17.785 million viewers and a 6.1 demo rating to rule the 8 p.m. hour. CBS' "The Amazing Race" was second overall with 10.54 million viewers and third witha 3.0 demo rating. FOX's still-NFL-boosted "The Simpsons" (9.56 million viewers and a 4.2 demo rating) and "The Cleveland Show" (7.05 million and a 3.2 demo rating) finished second in the demo and third overall. ABC was fourth with the 8.1 million viewers for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
9 p.m. -- The second hour of NBC's football improved to 20.095 million viewers and a 7.3 demo rating for NBC. ABC moved up to second with the 7.1/11 and 3.5 demo rating for "Desperate Housewives." CBS finished third with 10.36 million viewers and a 2.7 demo rating for "Undercover Boss." FOX's "The Cleveland Show" and "American Dad" averaged 5.63 million viewers for fourth, while tying with CBS for third in the demo.
10 p.m. -- The Steelers and Ravens gave NBC an estimated 19.3 million viewers and a 7.4 demo rating to rule the 10 p.m. hour. CBS was second with the 10.74 million viewers and 2.5 demo for "CSI: Miami." ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" had a low 7.72 million viewers and a 2.2 demo rating for third.
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.
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.