The 16.1 million people who watched the AMC series Sunday shattered the show’s previous record of 12.4 million, which was set for April’s final episode of the third season. CBS won the week in primetime, averaging 9.2 million viewers. NBC had 8.4 million, Fox had 7.5 million, ABC had 7 million, Univision had 3.2 million, the CW had 1.7 million, Telemundo had 1.14 million and Ion Television had 1.05 million.
The networks have experienced a slight improvement in primetime viewing this fall, but the landscape is still treacherous for new shows, several of which have been pulled after just two episodes.
The show debuted last Monday to an audience of just over 6.5 million viewers, and proceeded to get a smaller crowd watching it each succeeding night last week. It dropped to 5.8 million on Tuesday, 5.2 million on Wednesday, 4.2 million on Thursday, 4 million on Friday and 2.9 million on Saturday. Largely due to its Sunday night football game, NBC won the week with an average of 7 million viewers in primetime. CBS had 6.7 million, ABC had 4.5 million, Fox had 4 million and Univision had 3.1 million.
Last week’s TV ratings illustrate how important the game is to broadcast television. Peyton Manning’s seven-touchdown attack on Thursday brought 25.1 million viewers to the season-opening Baltimore-Denver game, while 25.4 million people watched Sunday’s game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
The game between Georgia and Clemson was the most-watched season opener since 2006 for ABC, which usually devotes its Saturday nights in the fall to college football. The 8.1 million viewers put the game within Nielsen’s 10 most-watched programs for the week, and lifted ABC to a second-place finish behind CBS in the weekly ratings. CBS’s summertime hit, Under the Dome, was the most popular program during a quiet week in television, the only program to get more than 10 million viewers.
Two of the three most popular programs on television last week were on cable networks instead of broadcast. The exception was the CBS miniseries Under the Dome, which has led in the ratings for much of the summer.
Overall it averaged 5.37 million viewers, logging its eighth consecutive week in the lead, despite the continuing standoff between the network and Time Warner Cable, which has blacked out CBS stations to 3.2 million customers in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. ABC, with 4.12 million viewers, took the runner-up position. But the most-watched program of the week was Duck Dynasty, A&E’s hit unscripted series, which summoned 11.77 million viewers for its season premiere.
CBS was easily the nation’s most popular network last week, according to Nielsen. The miniseries Under the Dome continued its dominance, and all three episodes of Big Brother finished among the 12 most-watched programs. CBS estimates the blackout cuts the network’s national viewership by about 1%.
Three of the top 10 most-watched shows on TV last week were repeats. That number is an indication of how the summer television world has changed among the big networks. During the corresponding week five years ago, six of the top 10 shows were reruns, Nielsen said. Go back a decade to 2003, and nine of the top 10 were programs that had aired before in colder-weather months.
For the first time since November 2008 — a stretch of 243 straight week—s ABC’s “World News” beat NBC’s “Nightly News” last week in viewership among the 25-to-54-year-old demographic that forms the basis for many advertising sales