Tuesday, January 16, 2018
  • Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017
NFL Championship Games Make Nielsen Mark
Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams (34) carries the ball during the first half of the AFC championship NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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Lopsided contests to determine Super Bowl participants didn't prevent each of the NFL conference championship games from reaching more than 45 million television viewers on Sunday.

The Nielsen company said that 47.95 million people watched the New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC conference game. Earlier in the day, the Atlanta Falcons' victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC contest was seen by 46.28 million viewers.

Neither game was particularly competitive; the Falcons had a 24-0 lead at halftime. Still, that game's audience was bigger than last year's NFC game (45.7 million), perhaps because the Packers are one of the league's marquee teams.

The Patriots and Steelers have more Super Bowl appearances than any other AFC teams. But with New England dominating, the game had a smaller audience than the 2016 game between New England and Denver, which drew 53.3 million viewers, Nielsen said.

The football boosted CBS to an easy win in prime time, averaging 13.3 million viewers for the week. NBC had 4.6 million, ABC had 4.1 million, Fox had 3 million, Univision had 2 million, Telemundo had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.3 million and the CW had 920,000.

On inauguration week, Fox News Channel dominated the cable ratings, averaging 3.8 million viewers in prime-time. CNN had 1.73 million, HGTV had 1.62 million, USA had 1.56 million and TBS had 1.41 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.4 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 9.1 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.5 million viewers.

Below are primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Jan. 16-22. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.

1. AFC Championship: Pittsburgh at New England, CBS, 47.95 million.

2. "Championship Post-Game," CBS, 22.66 million.

3. "NCIS," CBS, 15.5 million.

4. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 15.16 million.

5. "Hunted," CBS, 11.85 million.

6. "Bull," CBS, 11.11 million.

7. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 9.77 million.

8. "This is Us," NBC, 9.59 million.

9. "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 9.33 million.

10. "Kevin Can Wait," CBS, 8.67 million.

11. "Mom," CBS, 8.57 million.

12. "Hawaii Five-0," CBS, 8.41 million.

13. "The Great Indoors," CBS, 7.809 million.

14. "Scorpion," CBS, 7.807 million.

15. "Man With a Plan," CBS, 7.7 million.

16. "Chicago Fire," NBC, 7.15 million.

17. "The Bachelor," ABC, 7.13 million.

18. "Chicago PD," NBC, 7.11 million.

19. "The O'Reilly Factor" (Friday), Fox News, 7.09 million.

20. "Tucker Carlson Tonight" (Friday), Fox News, 7.02 million.