Maybe it was the Los Angeles Dodgers-Chicago Cubs Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, or The Walking Dead retrospective special ahead of next week’s Season 7 debut. Or maybe it was just NFL exhaustion after the Dallas Cowboys crushed the Green Bay Packers 30-16 earlier in the day, or maybe blame The Simpsons’ annual ‘Treehouse Of Horror’ episode. Whatever it was, Sunday Night Football and NBC had a real problem last night, and it wasn’t Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
With a 9.0/15 rating in metered-market results, the Houston Texans’ 26-23 overtime over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday was not only a season low for SNF but the worst the NFL powerhouse series has done in nearly five years. Only the October 23, 2011 game — in which the New Orleans Saints smashed the Colts 62-7 — has come in with a lower MM rating (8.2). Unlike last week, last night’s game did not face a Presidential debate on all the other networks.
Compared to the previous SNF season low with last week’s Giants-Packers game, last night’s Texans-Colts matchup was down 12% in MM ratings. The October 9 SNF went on to grab a 5.9/16 rating among adults 18-49 with 16.62 million watching — an expected double-digit drop from the week before, all things POTUS considered, especially with two teams playing who lack big national followings and, for the most part, had a lackluster game until the 4th quarter.
Even though NBC and the NFL will win Sunday, last night’s ratings tackle comes after weeks of declines for SNF and one week before TWD returns to likely challenge the franchise’s 18-49 demo supremacy much like it successfully has on several Sundays over the years. Some sunshine could come to the NFL and NBC on October 30 when SNF has the Cowboys up against the Philadelphia Eagles – which is certain to attract and retain eyeballs if it doesn’t become a blowout.
We’ll update later with more SNF ratings and what else was on last night. In the meantime, here are the top markets for last night’s game in MM results:
- Indianapolis 35.0/54
- Houston 25.1/40
- Austin 13.5/24
- Denver 13.3/24
- New Orleans 12.9/19
- Norfolk 12.0/19
- Sacramento 11.8/18
- Las Vegas 11.2/18
- San Antonio 11.2/19
UPDATE 9:32 AM: Looks like ratings gravity pulled almost everyone down last night with only The Simpsons (3.1/10) and its annual ‘Treehouse of Horror’ showing some significant upward movement – in no small part to some NFL overruns on Fox.
Even though it ended in an overtime win of 26-23 for the Lone Star staters, the big primetime NFL match-up of the Houston Texans vs. the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football (4.5/14) was not a lot to write home about for most of the game – on the field or in the ratings. Already a 5-year low for SNF in earlier metered market numbers, the fast affiliates have last night’s game down a painful 13% among adults 18-49 from October 9 when the NBC and the NFL faced the second Presidential debate. As always, we expect that number to rise in adjustments, like last week’s did to a 5.9/16 demo rating and 16.62 million viewers. Right now, heading towards a likely season low, SNF is showing it pulled 12.74 million viewers.
Still, NBC won the night but it was much closer than usual with a 3.7/12 rating and an audience of 10.61 million to that NFL pumped up Fox’s 3.3/10 and 9.09 million.
As for the House of Homer, this year’s Halloween special and 600th episode was all on point topically and up 11% from its last iteration of October 25, 2015. Compared to the last time The Simpsons had an NFL lead-in, last night’s show was up half a point – also showing just how the longest running show on TV still has it when it counts, though also expect adjustments here.
The rest of Fox’s night and everyone else’s was pretty much variations on down or steady. One of the few shows that had an original last week, ABC’s Once Upon A Time (1.1/4) was down a tenth, as was Fox’s Son of Zorn (1.5/5) and Family Guy (1.6/5) from their last new shows.
At 10 PM, right as SNF finally got interesting last night, both Quantico (0.8/3) and Elementary (0.7/3) took hits of 20% and 13% from two weeks ago to what are series lows in the early numbers. Madam Secretary (1.1/4) and Secrets & Lies (0.9/3) were even with their October 2 shows. On the flipside, CBS’ NCIS: LA (1.3/4) stumbled 13% and Fox’s The Last Man On Earth (1.1/3) went up 10% from its October 3 airing.