NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' Dominates in Season Kick-Off

by Paige Albiniak  |  09.26.2016

Much like Thursday, football beat all comers on Sunday night but was still down year to year. Several veterans returned but no new shows premiered.

In its first game of the season, NBC’s Sunday Night Football match-up between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys earned a 6.8 rating/21 share among adults 18-49 with 18.62 million total viewers tuning in, according to Nielsen’s final national ratings. That’s down 8 percent compared to last year’s 7.4 in the demo. Overall, football is experiencing a downtrend so far this season.

RELATED: As Premiere Week Comes to a Close, Football Still Prevails

Still, that performance far outshone everything else on every other network.

CBS had second place all to itself with its football overrun leading into 60 Minutes at 8 p.m., which scored a 2.3/7 in the demo and 13.5 million viewers and the two-hour premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles, which averaged a 1.4/5 in the demo and 9.44 million viewers.

ABC and Fox both struggled.

Once Upon a Time, Quantico and Secrets and Lies all returned to ABC, with the network coming in fourth for the night among adults 18-49 and third among total viewers. Once Upon a Time at 8 p.m. averaged a 1.2/4 in the demo and 4 million viewers; Secrets and Lies at 9 p.m. scored a 1.0.3 in the demo and 4 million viewers; and Quantico, which saw one of its major characters beheaded in its second-season premiere, mostly held that lead-in with a 1.0/3 in the demo and 3.6 million viewers.

Fox aired its standard Sunday night animation block, which has added Son of Zorn to the mix. The best performer of the six-show block was The Simpsons at 8 p.m., which averaged a 1.6/5 in the demo and 3.7 million viewers.

Fox kicked off Sunday night at 7 p.m. with a repeat of Family Guy, which averaged a 1.1/4 and 2.95 million viewers. That was followed by Bob’s Burgers at 7:30 p.m., building on that lead-in to a 1.3/4 and 2.98 million viewers.

Son of Zorn dropped back at bit at 8:30 p.m. with a 1.2/4 in the demo and 2.82 million viewers. At 9 p.m., the season premiere of Family Guy scored Fox’s second-highest demo rating of the night with a 1.4/4 and 2.89 million viewers. Finally, Fox closed out the evening with Will Forte’s Last Man on Earth at 9:30 p.m., which averaged a 0.9/3 among adults 18-49 and 2.21 million viewers.

Overall, NBC led with a 5.6/17 for the night in the key demo and 15.41 million viewers. CBS came in second with an overall 2.6/9 average and nearly 13 million viewers. Fox was third in the demo but last in viewers at a 1.3/4 and 2.92 million viewers. ABC came in fourth with a 0.9/3 demo average and 3.6 million viewers.

READ MORE: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, TVbytheNumbers

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