It’s a small thing, but by the time Michael Gallup’s shoe came off on the field it was clear last night’s Thursday Night Football was going south for the Dallas Cowboys.
Taken down 31-24 by the Chicago Bears in the Windy City, last night’s loss was the third in a row for the Jerry Jones-owned team. Still first in the NFC East, the playoffs prospects for the self-described America’s Team aren’t entirely dimmed at this point in the season, but clearly things are not stars and stripes on the still Jason Garrett coached squad.
Having said that, once again last night’s ratings proved America loves to watch the Cowboys, even if they lose.
Scoring just over 14 million viewers, last night’s TNF is the best that Fox’s NFL flagship show has performed all season so far. Now those fast affiliate numbers almost always adjust in the final ratings so we could see another record broken later on today in a night that Fox has easily already won.
For you statheads, the previous TNF audience high for the Rupert Murdoch-owned net in the early numbers was the 13.2 million that the Philadelphia Eagles’ September 26 win over the Green Bay Packer earned. That opening game of the current season of TNF went on to pull in 17.7 million viewers in the final numbers.
Now week-to-week, TNF was obviously down from the Thanksgiving match-up between the victorious New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons on NBC. Traditionally one of the highest rated and most watched games of any NFL season, that primetime face-off on the Comcast-owned net nailed a 5.3 rating among the adults 18-49 and 18.17 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
That’s a drop this week of just over 26% in the key demo compared to the Turkey Day gridiron.
Last week’s Thanksgiving game went on to deliver a 6.1 among the 18-49s and a whooping 21 million sets of eyeballs. As a further comparison, the December 6, 2018 crushing of the Jacksonville Jaguars by the Tennessee Titans had a dismal 3.1 rating in the final numbers with a grand total audience of 10.8 million – which is to say, this year is already miles ahead.
We will update with more TNF numbers as we get them.
Outside of football, it was CBS’ Young Sheldon (1.1, 8.39M) that topped primetime among entertainment offerings, which included back-to-back holiday-themed specials on ABC with A Charlie Brown Christmas (1.0, 4.95M) followed by the two-hour movie Same Time, Next Christmas (0.6, 3.71M) starring Lea Michele. NBC also offered a special, its annual two-hour SNL Christmas (0.6, 3.13M), as you can see in our chart below.
The ABC duo helped the network to second place in the demo behind TNF. CBS was second in viewers after football with its usual lineup returning after, like most of the broadcast nets, taking a break last week for Thanksgiving. Young Sheldon ticked up a tenth from its last original as did The Unicorn (0.8, 5.83M), with Mom (0.8, 5.98M), Carol’s Second Act (0.6, 4.69) and Evil (0.5, 3.35M) even.
NBC wrapped its night with its craft competition Making It (0.4, 1.70M), which dropped a stitch from the previous night which had been steady with its season premiere. The CW’s Supernatural (0.3, 1.07M) and Legacies (0.3, 860,000) both rose a tenth.
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