Football carried NBC, ESPN to big wins in audience last week

NBC Logo. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Football drove TV viewership last week, carrying NBC and ESPN to hefty wins, Nielsen said Wednesday.

NBC enjoyed its sixth straight weekly win, which matched its longest in-season winning streak in 21 years. Meanwhile, ESPN beat its closest cable rival by nearly 7 million viewers.

Among broadcast networks in prime time, NBC averaged 6.21 million viewers for the week, with CBS in second place with 5.75 million. (For the season to date, NBC is running within 265,000 viewers of perennial season champ CBS, which NBC says is the narrowest gap between the two networks at this point in the season in 16 years.)

ABC had 4.14 million viewers last week for third place, while Fox had 3.20 million, Univision had 1.73 million, ION television had 1.41 million, Telemundo had 1.35 million and the CW had 840,000 viewers.

In non-sports news, ABC’s 10 p.m. hour of its “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” rang in nearly 12 million viewers to place 11th for the week. CBS’ “Kennedy Center Honors” placed 18th with 8.62 million viewers.

Making its bow, the Fox comedy “The Mick” placed 19th with 8.58 million. The CBS drama “Ransom” premiered in 21st place with 6.65 million viewers.

Among cable networks, ESPN averaged 8.38 million viewers in prime time. Runner-up Fox News Channel was far behind with 1.86 million, while Hallmark had 1.73 million and USA had 1.58 million

ABC’s “World News Tonight” took the lead with an average of 8.95 million viewers, while NBC’s “Nightly News” was second with 8.80 million viewers, and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.66 million viewers.

For the week of Dec. 31-Jan. 1, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Green Bay vs. Detroit, NBC, 23.82 million; CFP Semifinal Pregame: Washington vs. Alabama, ESPN, 18.92 million; NFL Football: Detroit vs. Dallas, ESPN, 18.61 million; CFP Semifinal: Washington vs. Alabama, ESPN, 18.397 million; CFP Semifinal: Ohio State vs. Clemson, ESPN, 18.396 million; “Sunday Night NFL Pre-kick,” NBC, 15.96 million; “College Football Bowl Studio” (Saturday, 6:56 p.m. EST), ESPN, 15.67 million; “College Football Bowl Studio” (Saturday, 6:38 p.m. EST), ESPN, 15.09 million; “Football Night in America,” NBC, 11.724 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 11.719 million.