UPDATE, 3:30 PM: The final numbers are in, and it was a touchdown for ESPN last night. The sports network’s Monday Night Football doubleheader not only took Monday primetime among all broadcast and cable networks in key demos and viewers but also set some opening-game records. The Philadelphia Eagles’ 33-27 victory over the Washington Redskins pulled in a 10.1 rating last night. That 6:58-10:45 PM ET game was watched by 16.52 million viewers, another record for MNF since its 2006 debut on ESPN. The Eagles-Redskins game hit its peak from 10-10:15 PM with a 12.7 rating and 20.92 million viewers. The previous ESPN MNF season-opener record holder was the 2010 New York Jets-Baltimore Ravens game, which got a 9.4 rating and had 14.97 million viewers.
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PREVIOUSLY, 8:58 AM: It’s really that time of year. There was a debut, a finale, some series continued and the first Monday Night Football of the regular season on TV last night. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Washington Redskins in the first game of a doubleheader, but it was ESPN who hit a record: The first game scored an 11.6 overnight rating in metered markets. Though final numbers will come later today, that result is the best ESPN’s MNF opener has done since it started in 2006. Last year’s opener between the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens drew an 8.1 overnight rating, with 2010’s Ravens-NY Jets match-up holding the previous record of 10.5.
NBC’s new The Million Second Quiz (1.7/5) did not fare so well. The first live network quiz show in almost 50 years, the NYC-based one-hour show hosted by Ryan Seacrest had a moneychair and, keeping it very current, there were questions about Alec Baldwin and Bruno Mars plus a video cameo by Jimmy Fallon and a not always successful accompanying app. Despite all that, the big hype and facing football, Million Second Quiz tied the fast and final numbers of last year’s August 13 NBC debut of the now-cancelled Stars Earn Stripes, pulling in 6.49 million viewers in its 8-9 PM time slot. Worth noting is that the show saw a 500,000-viewer decline in the 8:30 PM period. However, as with live sports, fast affiliate ratings for live shows are not time-zone adjusted, so expect an adjustment in the numbers later in the day. Million Second Quiz is set to air every night until September 19 with only time off for Sunday Night Football. Following the high-profile debut, NBC had American Ninja Warrior (1.6/4). The competitive reality show was down 11% form last week. After that, it was the penultimate episode of faux reality show Siberia (0.7/2), with the freshman series up 17% from its September 2 episode.
Pre-empted in the City of Brotherly Love due to the Eagles’ game and with its Houston affiliate airing the Houston Texans-San Diego Chargers game, ABC’s only original of the night was the finale of Mistresses (1.4/4). The freshman late-night soap ended its season even with last week’s show and hence tied its best in the key demo. In terms of viewership, Mistresses was actually up almost 1 million viewers to 4.99 million. A 1.4/4 rating each, tied ABC and a Tennis-inflated CBS for the Big 4 top spot among adults 18-49 last night while CBS was No. 1 among viewers.
CBS’ results have to be taken in some context. With the U.S. Open’s men’s final going long, CBS’ primetime was pushed back by 55 minutes. While most of the night was repeats, that did result in Monday’s original Under The Dome (2.1/6) not airing until 10:30 PM on the East Coast. Down 22% from last week to hit a series low and likely tackled to some extent by Monday Night Football, Dome’s results are likely to see greater than usual adjustments in the final numbers.
Fox ran Bones encores last night.
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