What We’re Watching: ‘Thursday Night Football,’ Sunday NFL Programming Put Fox Atop TV Ratings

By STEVEN HERBERT, City News Service
Published on Nov 24, 2021

CBS had the week’s most-watched non-NFL program, comedy, new series and 10 p.m. show, but Fox’s combination of “Thursday Night Football,” another hour of NFL programming Sunday and the absence of generally low-rated 10 p.m. scripted programming made it the most-watched network for the third time in four weeks, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.

Fox averaged 5.41 million viewers for its 17 hours of prime-time programming between Nov. 15 and Sunday. It also finished first the two weeks it aired baseball’s World Series.

NBC was second, averaging 4.79 million viewers, followed by CBS, which averaged 4.54 million and ABC, which averaged 4.11 million, all for 22 hours of prime-time programming. The CW averaged 480,000 viewers for its 12 hours of programming.

With CBS airing a rerun of the season’s most-watched non-NFL program, “NCIS,” its crime drama “FBI” was the week’s most-watched non-NFL program, averaging 7.613 million viewers, eighth overall behind three NFL games, Fox’s 24-minute NFL postgame show, “The OT” and three NFL pregame shows.

“Young Sheldon” was the most-watched comedy for the seventh consecutive week, averaging 6.95 million viewers, 12th overall and fifth among non-NFL programs. “FBI International,” which followed “FBI,” was the most-watched new series for the second consecutive week and fourth time in the nine-week-old 2021-22 prime-time television season, averaging 5.964 million viewers, 16th overall and ninth among non-NFL programs.

“Blue Bloods” was the most-watched program beginning at 10 p.m. for the third consecutive week and sixth time in the season, averaging 5.794 million viewers, 17th overall and 10th among non-NFL programs.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched program for the third consecutive week and eighth time in the television season, with the Chargers’ 41-37 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers averaging 14.549 million viewers.

“Thursday Night Football” was second for the week with the New England Patriots’ 25-0 victory over the Atlanta Falcons averaging 13.520 million viewers. Fox also benefited from a 36-minute overrun of its Sunday afternoon NFL coverage that ran into prime time and averaged 27.439 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.

Fox’s most-watched non-NFL program for the third consecutive week was the procedural drama “9-1-1,” which averaged 5.112 million viewers, 24th overall and 16th among non-NFL programs.

NBC’s most-watched non-NFL program for the second consecutive week was the hourlong Tuesday edition of “The Voice,” which averaged 6.563 million viewers, 15th for the week and eighth among non-NFL programs.

ABC’s most-watched program was the news magazine “20/20,” which was 11th for the week and fourth among non-NFL programs for a report on the Turpin family, whose 13 children were found captive inside their Perris home under harrowing condition.

The crime drama “Walker” was The CW’s most-watched program for the fourth consecutive week, averaging 847,000 viewers, tying for 127th among broadcast programs with a rerun of the 1960-68 CBS comedy, “The Andy Griffith Show,” which airs on MeTV. Its overall rank was not available.

The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted of three NFL games; three NFL pregame shows; Fox’s 24-minute NFL postgame show “The OT”; “60 Minutes”; eight CBS entertainment programs; two NBC entertainment programs; “Yellowstone”; and “20/20.”

“Monday Night Football” was the most-watched cable program for the 10th time in 10 2021 regular-season broadcasts, with the Rams’ 31-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers Nov. 15 averaging 10.695 million viewers, fifth for the week.

Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network after back-to-back second-place finishes, averaging 2.89 million viewers. ESPN averaged 2.313 million viewers to finish second after two consecutive victories. Hallmark Channel was third for the second consecutive week following a third-place finish, averaging 1.579 million viewers. MSNBC was fourth for the second consecutive week, averaging 1.177 million.

CNN rose one spot to 11th, averaging 705,000 viewers. CNN also trailed HGTV (893,000), TBS (878,000), Paramount Network (858,000), TNT (843,000), TLC (821,000) and Food Network (715,000).

Univision’s coverage of the Latin Grammys was the most-watched prime-time Spanish-language program, averaging 2.343 million viewers, 59th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.

Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 103rd consecutive week and 105th time in 106 weeks, averaging 1.49 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 1 million viewers, followed by UniMas (490,000), Estrella TV (170,000) and Azteca America (30,000).

ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 103rd consecutive week, the 154th time in 155 weeks and the 206th time in 208 weeks, averaging 8.284 million viewers.

“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 7.206 million viewers, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” which averaged 5.361 million viewers.

The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football”; Fox’s “Thursday Night Football” and 24-minute Sunday NFL postgame show, “The OT”; NBC’s 10-minute “Sunday Night Football” pre-kickoff show; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”; Fox’s 16-minute “Thursday Night Football” pregame show; the 17-minute third segment of NBC’s “Football Night in America”; CBS’ “FBI” and “60 Minutes”; and Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone.”

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