What We;’re Watching: ‘Fire Country’ Draws Largest Audience For Scripted Series Episode Since 2021

By STEVEN HERBERT, City News Service
Published on Feb 2, 2023

Sunday’s post-AFC championship game episode of “Fire Country” on CBS drew the largest audience for a scripted series episode since the April 6, 2021, episode of “NCIS,” 10.082 million viewers.

The first-season drama finished third among prime-time broadcast and cable programs airing between Jan. 23 and Sunday, according to live-plus-same- day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday. The episode followed the 21-minute AFC championship game postgame show which averaged 24.326 million viewers

The Kansas City Chiefs’ 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC championship game averaged 53.124 million viewers, the most for an NFL conference championship since Jan. 20, 2019, when the New England Patriots’ 37- 31 overtime victory over the Chiefs in the AFC championship game on CBS averaged 53.918 million viewers.

The viewership for the 2019 game did not include out-of-home viewing, which Nielsen began including out-of-home viewing in its ratings figures in September 2020.

The AFC championship game also drew television’s largest audience since NBC’s telecast of Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022.

The combination of the AFC championship game and having each of the six most-watched non-sports programs and nine of the top 11 made CBS the most- watched network for the first time in the 19-week-old 2022-23 prime-time television season, averaging 11.81 million viewers.

ABC was second, averaging 2.82 million, and NBC third, averaging 2.73 million.

All three networks broadcast 22 hours of prime-time programming.

CBS’ most-watched program outside of its Sunday programming was “NCIS,” fourth for the week, averaging 7.536 million viewers.

CBS had the most-watched comedy for the 17th time in the season, with “The Neighborhood” averaging 6.411 million viewers, sixth for the week.

“Celebrity Jeopardy!” was ABC’s most-watched program, finishing 17th, averaging 4.435 million viewers.

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” was NBC’s most-watched program, finishing ninth for the week, averaging 5.774 million viewers.

The third episode of NBC’s revival of “Night Court” was 14th for the week, 12th among non-sports programs and third among comedies, averaging 5.175 million viewers, 31.5% less than the 7.544-million average for its premiere a week earlier, the most for a comedy premiere since ABC’s “The Conners” averaged 10.567 million viewers on Oct. 16, 2018.

(A second episode of “Night Court” that followed the premiere averaged 6.942 million viewers.)

Fox averaged 1.87 million viewers for in 15 hours, 17 minutes of prime- time programming. The third season premiere of “9-1-1: Lone Star” was its most-watched program, finishing 23rd and averaging 3.922 million viewers.

The second episode of the crime anthology “Accused” was Fox’s third most-watched program and 54th among the week’s broadcast and cable programs, averaging 2.448 million viewers.  Its premiere Jan. 22 following the San Francisco 49ers-Dallas Cowboys NFL divisional round playoff game averaged 8.705 million viewers, the most for a premiere since CBS’ “The Equalizer” averaged 20.404 million viewers following the Super Bowl LV postgame show on Feb. 7, 2021.

The CW averaged 460,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. Its most-watched program for the second consecutive week was the crime drama “Walker” which averaged 757,000 viewers, 144th among broadcast programs. Its overall ranking was not available.

The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted of the AFC championship game and its 21-minute postgame show; nine CBS scripted programs and “The Price is Right at Night”; four NBC scripted programs and “America’s Got Talent: All-Stars”; and the ABC alternative programs “Celebrity Jeopardy!” and “Shark Tank” and its scripted series “The Rookie.”

The five editions of the Fox News Channel political talk show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” were the five most-watched prime-time cable programs, topped by the Wednesday edition which averaged 3.508 million viwers, 28th overall.

Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network in prime time, averaging 2.069 million viewers. MSNBC was second, averaging 1.042 million and HGTV third, averaging 914,000.

The cable top 20 consisted 13 Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows (five broadcasts each of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and “Hannity” and three of “The Ingraham Angle”); all three hourlong segments of the USA Network professional wrestling program “WWE Raw”; History’s long-running chronicle of a search for treasure on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island”; the MSNBC news and opinion program, “The Rachel Maddow Show”; the Hallmark Channel movie, “Love in Glacier National: A National Park Romance”; and ESPN’s coverage of the Kansas-Kentucky college basketball game.

“You People” was Netflix’s most-watched program, with viewers spending 55.65 million hours watching the romantic comedy film in the first three days it was available, according to figures released by the streaming service Tuesday.

The second season of “Ginny & Georgia” was Netflix’s most-watched television program for the fourth time in the four weeks it has been available, with viewers spending 55.61 million hours watching its 10 episodes.

The most-watched Spanish-language program was the Thursday episode of the Telemundo telenovela “El Señor de los Cielos,” which averaged 1.755 million viewers, 59th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 25th consecutive week and 163rd time in 165 weeks, averaging 1.36 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1.09 million viewers, followed by UniMas (480,000), and Estrella TV (80,000).

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for 164th time in 165 weeks and 216th time in 218 weeks, averaging 9.004 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.907 million viewers, and the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” third, averaging 5.697 million viewers.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ coverage of the AFC championship game and its 21-minute postgame show; CBS’ “Fire Country,” “NCIS,” “FBI,” “The Neighborhood,” “FBI: International,” and “Bob Hearts Abishola”; and NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Law & Order.”

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