Saturday, October 22, 2016
  • Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2016
NFL Helps NBC Score Nielsen Touchdown
Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano (9) misses a field goal attempt as punter Andy Lee (8) holds during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
  • --

The return of football and back-to-back prime-time interviews with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump led NBC to a decisive victory in the television ratings.

Both the season-opening Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos and a Sunday night game involving a Tom Brady-less New England team and Arizona both reached more than 20 million viewers, the Nielsen company said.

NBC also reached 14.7 million viewers for the “Commander-in-Chief Forum” featuring Clinton and Trump. Given the rough reception given to moderator Matt Lauer, NBC may have a hard time celebrating that ratings achievement. The first debate between the two presidential candidates, moderated by NBC “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Add in summer’s top show in its waning weeks, “America’s Got Talent,” and it made for a dominant week for NBC.

The network averaged 11.1 million viewers in prime time. ABC had 4.5 million, CBS had 4.2 million, Fox had 3.9 million, Telemundo had 1.7 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and the CW had 1.1 million.

ESPN was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.42 million in prime time. Fox had 2.15 million, Discovery had 1.64 million, HGTV had 1.57 million and USA had 1.44 million.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.9 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight” was second with 7.88 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.2 million viewers.

Below are primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Sept. 5-11. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.

1. NFL Football: Carolina at Denver, NBC, 25.19 million.

2. NFL Football: New England at Arizona, NBC, 23.08 million.

3. “NFL Pre-Game Show” (Thursday), NBC, 18.51 million.

4. “NFL Pre-Game Show” (Sunday), NBC, 17.67 million.

5. “Commander-in-Chief Forum,” NBC, 14.72 million.

6. “The OT,” Fox, 14.36 million.

7. “Football Night in America,” NBC, 12.19 million.

8. “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 11.96 million.

9. “NFL Kick-Off Show” (Thursday), NBC, 10.62 million.

10. “America’s Got Talent”(Wednesday), NBC, 10.61 million.

11. College Football: Mississippi vs. Florida, ESPN, 8.35 million.

12. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.95 million.

13. “NCIS,” CBS, 7.52 million.

14. “Better Late Than Never,” NBC, 6.91 million.

15. “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 6.67 million.

16. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 6.38 million.

17. “Dateline NBC,” NBC, 6.33 million.

18. “Miss America Competition,” ABC, 6.29 million.

19. “Big Brother” (Sunday), CBS, 6.21 million.

20. “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 6.15 million.