Sunday night’s primetime saw a terrible fake punt from the Indianapolis Colts that doomed them in a 34-27 loss to the New England Patriots, the New York Mets taking Game 2 in the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, a new leader in Russia, and a hostage rescue by aspiring FBIers.
That might have been a dumb move by the Colts on Sunday Night Football (7.5/20), but NBC and the NFL look to have scored a clear touchdown. Even facing the big-market baseball playoffs over on TBS (which got a 4.9/8 in metered markets), the Patriots’ victory was up 29% in adults 18-49 from last week. Viewershipwise, last night’s 8:30-11 PM rivalry game pulled in an audience 20.93 million. (Planning ahead, last week’s SNF game was adjusted up to a 6.9/20 in the final numbers with a total viewership of 19.59 million.)
So last night’s numbers will change, as they always do for SNF and live sports, but it’ll be worth watching, in this context, to see how the second week of the sixth season of The Walking Dead did last night too. While down from its previous two season openers, the AMC blockbuster still manage to beat SNF in the key demo October 11. If last night’s rise is an indication, the zombie apocalypse may have a much harder time taking off such a bite this week. Among the Big 4, NBC won the night of course with a 6.0/17 rating and 17 million viewers.
In metered-market results, last night’s SNF was up 11% from last week’s season low with a 14.6/23 rating. If that double-digit result was a relief to the NFL and NBC, the fact last night’s game did 26% better than the Week 6 game of last year and was the best a Week 6 game has done in a decade was icing on the gridiron cake.
As is commonly the case, CBS’ NFL games ran long and the net’s primetime didn’t start until 7:59 PM in the Eastern and Central time zones — which means the ratings are extremely tentative and likely to change. As it is, 60 Minutes (2.3/6) started at 8 PM, with Madam Secretary (1.1/3) — with that plot about new leadership in Russia — and The Good Wife (1.0/3) following. They are all down 21%, 27% and 17% from last week, respectively, in fast nationals. CSI: Cyber (0.7) didn’t start until 11 PM and hence is out of prime.
The only change from last week on ABC was America’s Funniest Home Videos (0.8/3) with a 27% fall. Otherwise, Once Upon A Time (1.6/5), Blood & Oil (0.9/2) and Quantico (1.6/5) were all even with their October 11 episodes. In terms of the Priyanka Chopra-led FBI drama (which is where that hostage rescue happened last night), ABC’s Live+3 numbers from Nielsen have last week’s Quantico jumping up 94% among 18-49s. Right now, putting delayed viewing in context, that’s the biggest gain not just for any new show but any Big 4 show period this season so far.
With NFL overruns of their own earlier in the evening on Fox, The Simpsons (1.6/5) was back last night with a Halloween-themed episode. Something was moving in the pumpkin patch because the animation veteran bopped up 7% in the demo compared with last week. Fellow animated series Bob’s Burgers (1.0/3) saw an 11% demo rise compared with last week in a move from 7:30 PM to 9 PM. Otherwise, Fox non-animated Sunday comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.2/3) and The Last Man On Earth (1.1/3) were both down a tenth from October 11.
And for you baseball fans, the ALCS Game 3 is tonight with the Kansas City Royals up north against the Toronto Blue Jays. And there’s that little treat from a galaxy far far away on Monday Night Football on ESPN that you might have heard about showing up at halftime.