UPDATE, 1:45 PM: About 20.8 million viewers watched CBS’ first Thursday NFL football game after the pregame package was viewed by 10.63 million. The game, which followed a pregame show-turned-NFL Ray Rice Scandal update, clocked a 7.5/24 demo rating.
The overall audience is way up from the 14.2 million viewers CBS clocked on its first big Thursday of last fall’s TV season — the Premiere Week return of The Big Bang Theory, featuring two episodes, followed by the unveiling of Robin Williams’ The Crazy Ones, the lowest-rated season opener ever for Two And A Half Men, and the season debut of Elementary. CBS says it’s the network’s best Thursday primetime performance since 2007.
The network noted the game jumped by 89% from last year’s comparable viewing average of 11 million on NFL Network, which matched the New York Jets against the New England Patriots on September 12, 2013.
That said, one week earlier, NBC’s debut of the NFL 2014 season on Thursday night scored 23.4 million viewers and a 9.0/27 demo rating with a Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game.
PREVIOUS, 7:20 AM: CBS and NFL Network’s debut broadcast of Thursday Night Football earned an overnight household 13.7/23. The Pittsburgh-Baltimore game’s initial stats are up 108% from last year’s comparable game that aired only on NFL Network (from 6.6/12; N.Y. Jets-New England; 9/12/13) in the 56 metered markets.
Last night’s programming on CBS and NFL Network from 8 PM-11 PM averaged a primetime household 12.9/22, which was 215% higher than the comparable CBS primetime programming a year ago (up from 4.1/7). That said, CBS’ primetime programming on September 12, 2013 included a Big Bang Theory repeat, CBS’ Fall Preview Show, Big Brother, and an Elementary repeat.
The debut of Thursday football was CBS’ best primetime Thursday delivery since May 18, 2006. Last night’s household delivery for the game was 99% higher than the all-time best rating/share on NFL Network (6.9/12; Kansas City-Philadelphia on September 19, 2013).
In last night’s non-football TV: NBC’s The Biggest Loser (1.6/7) was back for Season 16. With the theme this cycle of former pro athletes looking to shed weight, the 2-hour reality show fell a hard 30% from its one-hour Season 15 premiere October 15 last year. Airing on a Tuesday, last year’s Biggest Loser debut did not have to have to face football.
In a Hail Mary hoping to attract non-NFL fans, NBC ended the night with a special The Secret Lives Of Pets With Hoda Kotb (1.0/3). Freshman fantasy-themed competition show The Quest (0.5/1) was ABC’s only original offering. Declaring a winner, the finale of The Quest, which debuted July 31 and never really took off, was even with last week. Fox and the CW aired repeats.