NBC’s Broncos-Colts Matchup Dominates Primetime Sunday

Rick Kissell
October 21, 2013

Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis produced huge ratings for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which crushed everything on the night — including even AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

There wasn’t much else happening on the broadcast networks Sunday, with ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” tied a series low. The net’s “Betrayal,” though, staved off cancellation talk by rising week to week.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the Indianapolis Colts’ 39-33 victory over the Denver Broncos averaged a 9.5 rating/23 share in adults 18-49 and 25.9 million viewers overall from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with these averages expected to rise by 10% or more in the nationals. That will put it well ahead of the second week of this season’s “The Walking Dead,” which averaged a preliminary 7.1 rating in 18-49 — down from its monster 8.1 premiere score of last week but still the show’s No. 2 rating to date.

In metered-market overnight ratings, “Sunday Night Football” averaged a 17.3 household rating/29 share, putting it 48% above last year’s Week 7 game (11.7 for Pittsburgh-Cincinnati) and the fourth best for any regular-season NBC game since the network started its “SNF” package in 2006. The highest-rated game on NBC remains a Dallas-Washington matchup in Week 17 last year (18.3).

No October primetime game has rated higher in the overnights since a Green Bay-Minnesota contest on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” in 1998 (17.5).

In the local markets involved, Sunday’s game did similar ratings: a 49.6 rating/71 share in Denver and a 49.1/71 in Indianapolis — both “Sunday Night Football” records. Kansas City, whose Chiefs are a rival of the Broncos and are now the NFL’s only unbeaten team, drew the third best local-market rating (26.7/42).

Elsewhere Sunday, CBS followed a football overrun with “60 Minutes,” which averaged roughly a 3.2/9 in 18-49 and 14.9 million viewers overall to stand as the night’s most-watched non-sports program. From there, “The Amazing Race” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall) likely will finish up a bit from last week, as will “The Good Wife” (1.4/3 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall). And starting at 10:30 p.m. in the East, “The Mentalist” drew about a 1.3/3 in 18-49 and 7.9 million viewers overall.

At ABC, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) was on par with last week, but “Once Upon a Time” slid to a 2.0/5 in 18-49 and 7 million viewers overall for its series low. “Revenge” held up a bit better (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), in line with last week, while “Betrayal” remains low but was on the rise (0.9/2 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall), adding about 700,000 total viewers week to week.

Fox, which had to program knowing there could have been a seventh game of baseball’s ALCS on Sunday night, aired repeats of its animated comedies. “The Simpsons” averaged a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 3.2 million viewers overall at 8 p.m., followed by a second “Simpsons” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall), “Family Guy” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) and “American Dad” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 7.8/20; CBS, 2.7/7; ABC, 1.4/4; Fox, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: NBC, 21.5 million; CBS, 12.3 million; ABC, 5.6 million; Fox, 2.7 million.

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