‘Thursday Night Football’ Ratings Tumble To Season Low With Broncos’ Win

Perhaps adding fuel to the criticism against the near-end-of-week game, the stakes were pretty low for last night’s Thursday Night Football, with neither the Denver Broncos nor the Indianapolis Colts in the playoff running this season.

At least with their 25-13 win, the Broncos snapped an eight-game losing streak on the road in Week 15 of the season. Not that many were interested, it seems – and we don’t just mean all those empty seats at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium in a season sideswiped by protests, controversy and ratings declines.

Snagging a 7.4/13 in metered market results, last night’s TNF was a season low for the broadcast, on both CBS and NBC and simulcast on NFL Network. Taking a double-digit hit, the game was down from last week and also the comparable gridiron matchup of last year where the Seattle Seahawks beat the L.A. Rams 24-3.

Looking at the close December 7 game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, last night’s TNF was down 27% in  early ratings. That Falcons win went on to deliver a 4.3/17 rating among adults 18-49 and 14.61 million viewers.

In what has been a slippery season in the ratings for the NFL and broadcasters on the Big 4 and cable, last night’s TNF fell 26% in MM from the TNF of December 15, 2016. In the final numbers, that Seahawks win drew a 4.3/16 in the key demo and a total audience of 14.65 million.

To give one more bit of context, last night’s game slid 12% in metered market ratings from the previous TNF season low of October 26, the last TNF on CBS this year. That game, which saw the Baltimore Ravens demolish the Miami Dolphins 40-0, eventual pulled in a 3.4/14 among 18-49s and 11.36 million viewers — which might be an indication of what to expect out of last night’s game.

The Broncos-Colts game peaked with a 8.0/14 in the 9:30-10 PM ET slot. Or to put it another way, that’s down a hard 30% from the metered market peak of last week’s TNF.

Currently in fast affiliates and certain to adjust, TNF is pegged with a 2.1/8 in the 18-49s and 8 million viewers. Even with this week’s low, the Comcast-owned net is certain to win the night in the demo with what is right now a 2.0/8 rating. However, with what is an audience of 7.70 million right now, NBC is second to CBS’ 8.89 million in terms of total viewers, a very very rare less than NFL night topper.

While down two tenths in the demo from its December 8 show, The Big Bang Theory (2.6/11) was No. 1 for the night in sets of eyeballs with 13.55 million watching. Lead-out Young Sheldon (2.0/8) was also down two tenths, and Mom (1.4/5) and Life in Pieces (1.1/4) were even with their previous airings. At 10 PM, S.W.A.T. (1.0/4) rose 11% from last week.

Making its small screen debut after being on the big screen with Coco, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (1.4/6) was a pretty hot property for ABC. Coming in as the third highest-rated show of Thursday after BBT and TNF, Olaf helped give lead out Disney Prep & Landing (1.1/4) a 38% rise over last year’s airing. Quickly put on the schedule to replace the now-pulled The Great American Baking Show after judge Johnny Iuzzini was accused of sexual misconduct, The Great Christmas Light Fight (0.7/3) was down 13% from last week’s Baking.

It was all specials on Fox and the CW with the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2017 (0.4/2) exactly the same as the December 15, 2016 version. The still Murdoch-owned net saw Showtime at the Apollo (0.7/3) and the celeb filled Taraji’s White Hot Holidays (0.7/3) jingling those scheduling bells. The Empire star led latter special was tarnished 22% from its December 8, 2016 airing.

The calendar gods are shining on us this year, so you have this weekend and next to get that Christmas shopping in.