UPDATE, 2:01 PM: The ratings for the official kickoff of Sunday Night Football may have been delayed because Nielsen had to evacuate its Tampa-area HQ this weekend because of Hurricane Irma but NBC and the NFL probably aren’t complaining.
With the final viewership numbers now in, it looks like the league and the network’s Hail Mary hope to over come the declining ratings of last season have paid off.
With an uptick of over two million from the non-adjusted fast affiliate numbers the big market match-up between the 19-3 victorious Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants snared 24.2 million viewers watching on the Comcast-owned net on September 10. That’s up 5% from what the September 11, 2016 New England Patriots 23-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals scored in sets of eyeballs.
Not really apples to apples, but SNF’s final viewership is also up 11% from what the struggling 2017-2018 season opening game drew on September 7.
While down 12% from 2015’s second highest SNF ever, all of which is welcomed news by the NFL after the near double-digit ratings slide of last season that left the biggest thing on the small screen sacked.
PREVIOUSLY, SEPT 12 PM: After delays due to Hurricane Irma hitting Florida, Nielsen has ratings results for Sunday Night Football (8.0/26), Seth MacFarlane’s The Orville (2.3/8) and the 2018 Miss America Competition (1.2/4). And if you are NBC and the NFL, the fast affiliates will feel like a touchdown.
Even though the clash between the winning Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants on Sunday was only up 7% among adults 18-49 over the early numbers for the September 11, 2016 official kickoff of SNF, a rise is good news for a league and a network hit by declining numbers last year. That good news comes with even more sunshine for all concerned after the September 7 start of the 2017-2018 season took a ratings and viewership slam from 2016. It also comes with portions of the nation focused on the extreme weather, as preemptions nationwide for Irma coverage.
With that in mind, Sunday’s Cowboys-Giants big market matchup is currently up almost 1 million viewers over last year’s SNF start in non-adjusted numbers with an audience of 21.56 million. Those numbers will likely see significant changes when final numbers come in.
The 2016 SNF opener between the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals went on to score a total viewership of 23.1 million and an 8.4/27 rating in the key demo. Right now, as it will surely in the final numbers, NBC is winning Sunday with a 6.5/22 and 17.73 million viewers.
Maybe likely also to see adjusts is the preview debut of The Orville, which followed a NFL double-header on Fox on Sunday. Touted by Fox as the best drama premiere (with the exception of 24: Legacy’s post-Super Bowl debut) since This Is Us’ 2.8/10 on September 20 last year, the sci-fi show was down a tenth from the comparable start of Son Of Zorn on September 11, 2016. Of note, semi-animated comedy Son of Zorn’s demo numbers did not change from fast affiliates to final numbers last fall. Viewershipwise, the initial airing of The Orville snagged an audience of 7.32 million, up 19% from the sets of eyeballs Zorn pulled in.
Steady was the direction for Miss America this year. As contestants were peppered with Donald Trump questions, the annual pageant that saw Miss North Dakota Cara Mund win the title dipped 8% from last year in the key demo and 11% in total viewers to 5.6 million.
With more primetime Trump talk, the much-hyped Steve Bannon sit-down with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes (1.1/4) gave the news mag show a nice 57% demo lift over its last original. However, for Big Brother (1.9/7) the uptick wasn’t as dramatic, with the reality show rising 12% among adults 18-49 over last week.
We will update with more numbers and September 11 ratings when we get them.