Return of football leads NBC to dominating win

NEW YORK (AP) -- The return of football and back-to-back prime-time interviews with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump led NBC to a decisive victory in the television ratings.

Both the season-opening Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos and a Sunday night game involving a Tom Brady-less New England team and Arizona both reached more than 20 million viewers, the Nielsen company said.

NBC also reached 14.7 million viewers for the "Commander-in-Chief Forum" featuring Clinton and Trump. Given the rough reception given to moderator Matt Lauer, NBC may have a hard time celebrating that ratings achievement. The first debate between the two presidential candidates, moderated by NBC "Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt, is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Add in summer's top show in its waning weeks, "America's Got Talent," and it made for a dominant week for NBC.

The network averaged 11.1 million viewers in prime time. ABC had 4.5 million, CBS had 4.2 million, Fox had 3.9 million, Telemundo had 1.7 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and the CW had 1.1 million.

ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.42 million in prime time. Fox had 2.15 million, Discovery had 1.64 million, HGTV had 1.57 million and USA had 1.44 million.

NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.9 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 7.88 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.2 million viewers.

For the week of Sept. 5-11, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Carolina at Denver, NBC, 25.19 million; NFL Football: New England at Arizona, NBC, 23.08 million; "NFL Pre-Game Show" (Thursday), NBC, 18.51 million; "NFL Pre-Game Show" (Sunday), NBC, 17.67 million; "Commander-in-Chief Forum," NBC, 14.72 million; "The OT," Fox, 14.36 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 12.19 million; "America' Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 11.96 million; "NFL Kick-Off Show" (Thursday), NBC, 10.62 million; "America's Got Talent"(Wednesday), NBC, 10.61 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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Online:

http://www.nielsen.com