It was clear pretty early on that last night’s Sunday Night Football was going to be a problematic — and not because The Walking Dead was back with its seventh season. Then again, to some, it seemed like it was a zombie apocalypse on the field at the University of Phoenix Stadium when the first half of the Arizona Cardinals-Seattle Seahawks game ended with a 3-0 score for the home team.
The long NFL matchup of sorts finally came to an end with a 6-6 tie after overtime on NBC — missed kicks, missed opportunities and making some history that no one is probably proud of with the first tie without a touchdown in the NFL since 1972. All of which gave SNF a lift with an 11.6/20 result in metered market ratings after such a frankly terrible game. Here take a look at the end:
#ICYMI: This is how tonight’s game ended. 😐
— NFL Canada (@NFLCanada) October 24, 2016
To put in context, last night’s game was up 22% from the Houston Texans’ 26-23 OT win over the Indianapolis Colts last week, which posted a five-year low in MM ratings for SNF. In a season that has seen the NFL pummeled with ratings problems and an increasingly vocal cultural divided over player protests, the Texans-Colts game went on to score a 4.9/16 rating among adults 18-49 and 13.6 million viewers in total – down a full point from the October 9 Green Bay Packers 23-16 win over the NY Giants.
In MM numbers, last night’s results are the best SNF has done since the September 25 Dallas Cowboys-Chicago Bears game, which got a 12.9/21.
With these numbers it looks like last night’s TWD’s season debut might be in a real competition to achieve the goal of being both the top show on cable and broadcast in the demo, but we’ll have to wait until the final stats come in to know for sure. As it is right now, NBC is topping Sunday’s primetime.
Having said all that, October 30 might prove the real balm for SNF, the NFL and NBC as the Philadelphia Eagles are taking on the Dallas Cowboys in primetime. Bucking the ratings downward trend, the Cowboys-Packers game on Fox last Sunday afternoon pulled in 28 million total viewers and a 15.8/30 rating. That’s the best in both categories that any NFL game has done on any net this season so far. Just sayin’
We’ll update with more SNF numbers and other Big 4 ratings later when they come in.
UPDATE, 8:59 AM: It may have been one of the most lackluster and error filled NFL games ever but last night Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals 6-6 in overtime match-up on Sunday Night Football (5.3/15) proved a winner for NBC. After weeks of weaker and weaker results and multi-year lows, last night’s SNF was up 18% among the 18-49s over last week’s fast affiliates and 8% over the final numbers.
Which, on a night of football overruns on CBS and some Fox markets, gave the Comcast-owned net a win with a 4.6/14 rating and 13.59 million viewers overall.
If NBC pulled off a good night, the NFL-less ABC took some tackles with Once Upon A Time (1.0/3), Secrets & Lies (0.7/2) and Quantico (0.7/3) all hitting lows in the early numbers. On the same night The Walking Dead returned for its well hyped Season 7 debut at 9 PM, the 8PM fantasy drama matched its October 16 series low while the 9PM and 10PM shows fell 22% and 13% -both series lows.
Fox saw Bob’s Burgers (1.6/6) come back with better than average results and The Simpsons (1.6/5) down nearly 47% from last week’s Halloween special but even with its last non-NFL lead-in show. The lack of that NFL overrun really hurt Son Of Zorn (1.0/3), Family Guy (1.2/4) and The Last Man On Earth (0.9/3) – which were down 33%, 25% and 18% respectively.
With its primetime pushed back 35-minutes, CBS’ ratings are all over the map and will likely see changes in adjustments. As it is the 7:30-ish PM starting 60 Minutes got a 3.2/10, NCIS: LA got a 1.7/5, Madam Secretary drew a 1.1/3 and Elementary had a 0.8/3.