Tuesday, October 25, 2016
  • Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016
ESPN Scores Ratings Touchdown; A Rundown of Last Week's Nielsens
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) poses with the Orange Bowl trophy following an NCAA college football semifinal playoff game against Oklahoma, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
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Football games (and football chatter) ruled in the ratings arena last week, according to the Nielsen company.

That meant cable’s ESPN ruled in audience over all the broadcast networks. In primetime overall for the week, it averaged 8.64 million viewers, nearly 2 million more than broadcast front-runner CBS. ESPN claimed 13 of the top 20 slots with its football coverage and adjoining pigskin punditry.

Even so, NBC scored the week’s biggest show: its Sunday night NFL faceoff between Minnesota and Green Bay was seen by 24 million viewers.

Among broadcast networks for the reruns-laden week, CBS squeaked out a victory with an average of 6.72 million viewers. NBC, in second place for the week, was right behind with 6.66 million viewers, while ABC had 4.1 million, Fox had 2.8 million, Univision had 1.9 million, Telemundo had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.4 million, and the CW had 1.1 million.

ABC had a rare win in the evening news race with its “World News Tonight with David Muir” drawing 9.7 million viewers, though it was a week that came with asterisks. Only Monday through Wednesday newscasts on the three networks were measured on this holiday week, and Kate Snow subbed for Lester Holt on NBC’s “Nightly News,” the runner-up with 9.3 million. The “CBS Evening News” had 7.9 million viewers.

Here are primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Dec. 28-Jan. 3. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.

1. NFL Football: Minnesota vs. Green Bay, NBC, 24.29 million.

2. College Football Semifinal: Michigan State vs. Alabama, ESPN, 18.55 million.

3. College Football Studio (8:08 p.m. EST Thursday), ESPN, 18.09 million.

4. “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 17.75 million.

5. College Football Studio (8:01 p.m. EST Thursday), ESPN, 16.76 million.

6. NFL Football: Cincinnati vs. Denver, ESPN, 15.81 million.

7. College Football Semifinal: Oklahoma vs. Clemson, ESPN, 15.64 million.

8. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 15.36 million.

9. Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Iowa, ESPN, 13.55 million.

10. College Football Studio (4:56 p.m. EST Friday), ESPN, 13.22 million.

11. “Prime-time New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (Part 2), ABC, 13.02 million.

12. “Football Night in America,” NBC, 12.81 million.

13. College Football Studio (4:41 p.m. EST Friday), ESPN, 12.66 million.

14. College Football Semifinal: Michigan State vs. Alabama postgame show, ESPN, 11.61 million.

15. “NCIS,” CBS, 10.37 million.

16. College Football Studio (3:59 p.m. EST Thursday), ESPN, 9.78 million.

17. Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State, ESPN, 9.76 million.

18. Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss, ESPN, 8.94 million.

19. College Football Studio (3:54 p.m. EST Thursday), ESPN, 8.17 million.

20. “Prime-time New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” ABC, 8.13 million.