CBS finished first in the ratings race last week for the seventh time in the seven-week-old prime-time season, even without original episodes of “NCIS” and “NCIS: New Orleans,” two of television’s three most-watched drama series.
CBS had 10 of the 11 most-watched scripted programs and averaged 9.3 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Nov. 3 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same-day figures released today by Nielsen.
ABC averaged 8.44 million viewers, its most for a non-Oscar week since the week of Nov. 18-24, 2013, to finish second for the first time this season.
ABC had finished fourth each of the previous two weeks when Fox aired the World Series and was third for each of the first three weeks of the season.
NBC averaged 7.78 million viewers to finish third for the third consecutive week following second-place finishes each of the first four weeks.
Fox was fourth, averaging 4.36 million. Fox has finished fourth in all but the two weeks this season it aired the World Series, when it finished second.
NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” returned to the top spot of the ratings after a two-week absence, with Green Bay’s 55-14 victory over the Chicago Bears averaging 18.13 million viewers, despite the Packers’ 42-0 halftime lead.
An NFL game has been the most-watched prime-time program nine of the past 10 weeks, with only Fox’s coverage of Game 7 of the World Series Oct. 29 interrupting that streak.
NBC’s 11-minute “Sunday Night Football” pregame show was second for the week, averaging 16.58 million viewers.
CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” was the week’s most-watched scripted program, averaging 16.56 million viewers to finish third overall.
Reruns of “NCIS” and “NCIS: New Orleans” drew more viewers than all but one drama on a competing network, AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which averaged 13.53 million viewers, finishing fifth for the week and first among cable programs.
“NCIS” averaged 11.47 million viewers, 13th for the week, and “NCIS: New Orleans” 9.91 million, 18th for the week.
The first-year series “Madam Secretary” was CBS’ most-watched drama, averaging 12.54 million viewers, finishing seventh for the week.
CBS’ winning streak is the longest by any network to start a season since its 15-week streak in the 2006-2007 season.
ABC was bolstered by its coverage of the Country Music Association Awards, which finished fourth for the week, averaging 16.29 million viewers, the most for any ABC program this season.
Fox benefited from the 32-minute overrun of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time. The overrun, which is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average, averaged approximately 23.03 million viewers.
The 28-minute NFL postgame show “The OT” which followed averaged 10.45 million viewers, 16th for the week.
“The Simpsons” was Fox’s most-watched non-football program, finishing 44th with an average of 6.7 million viewers.
NBC finished first among viewers ages 18-49, the group it, ABC and Fox target and advertisers covet because it watches less television and is harder to reach.
“The Walking Dead” finished first for the week among the group for the second consecutive week, averaging 8.82 million viewers.
“Sunday Night Football” was second, averaging 8.25 million viewers, followed by the “Sunday Night Football” kickoff show (7.2 million); the Country Music Association Awards (5.77 million) and ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” game between the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants (5.45 million).
CBS and ABC both broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming for ratings purposes, NBC 21 1/2 hours and Fox 16 hours.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network for the ninth consecutive week, averaging 2.95 million viewers.
The week’s most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was Thursday episode of the Univision telenovela “Mi Corazon Es Tuyo,” which averaged 4.2 million viewers, 70th among all prime-time broadcast and cable programs.
As usual, Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network, averaging 2.78 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.18 million, followed by UniMas, which averaged 590,000, Estrella TV, which averaged 320,000, MundoFox, which averaged 170,000 and Azteca America, which averaged 110,000.
The “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 269th consecutive week and 316th of the past 317, averaging 9.45 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was second, averaging 8.76 million and the “CBS Evening News” third, averaging 7.25 million viewers.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and its 11-minute kickoff show; CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”; ABC’s Country Music Association Awards; AMC’s “The Walking Dead”; ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”; CBS’ “Madam Secretary”; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; CBS’ “60 Minutes”; and NBC’s 22-minute third segment of “Football Night in America.”