The end of a tight game between the Cowboys and Saints carried over into primetime for FOX, helping the network capture Thanksgiving night in the all-important demographic and in total viewers. Of course, when the numbers shift in final figures, it may end up being CBS repeats that carry the day overall.
Meanwhile, on the always sluggish TV night, viewers showed little interest in original specials featuring two of music's biggest names. Beyonce proved a slightly biggest draw than Taylor Swift, but neither superstar proved a Thanksgiving primetime draw.
For the night, FOX averaged a 2.7 rating, topping the 1.7 rating for CBS and ABC's 1.4 rating. NBC was fourth with a 1.0 rating in the key demographic, holding off The CW's 0.9 rating, which was boosted by NFL preemptions in some markets.
Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 7.575 million viewers and a 3.9 rating/8 share. CBS actually had a slim advantage with a 4.1/8, but the network averaged only 6.87 million viewers. ABC was third with 4.43 million viewers, just ahead of the 4.07 million viewers for NBC. The CW's inflated audience was 2.72 million.
8 p.m. -- FOX started the night in first with the end of the New Orleans/Dallas football game and the start of "The Simpsons Movie," which averaged 10.465 million viewers and a 3.6 demo rating. CBS' repeats of "The Big Bang Theory" and "$#*! My Dad Says" averaged 6.2 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating in second. ABC's second airing of "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" averaged 4.99 million viewers for third. NBC finished fourth with the 4.42 million viewers and a 1.1 demo rating for "Taylor Swift: Speak Now." The CW's repeat of "Vampire Diaries" was fifth.
9 p.m. -- CBS moved into first in the 9 p.m. hour with 6.82 million viewers and a 1.9 demo rating for repeats of "The Big Bang Theory" and "Mike & Molly." FOX was second with "The Simpsons Movie," which averaged 4.685 million viewers and a 1.7 demo rating. An NBC News special averaged 4.41 million viewers in third, edging the 3.84 million viewers for ABC's "Modern Family" repeat and the start of the "Beyonce's "I Am... World Tour" special.
10 p.m. -- A repeat of "The Mentalist" drew 7.585 million viewers and a 1.6 demo rating for CBS in the 10 p.m. hour. ABC's Beyonce special drew 4.44 million viewers and a 1.4 demo for second. Meanwhile, NBC's "The Apprentice" was third with 3.37 million viewers and a 0.9 demo rating.
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.