9:03am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: NBC Closes Regular NFL Season on a High Note, Kennedy Center Honors Fall
With especially high stakes and playoff slots on the line, the NFL was a predictably huge draw on Sunday -- and NBC's Sunday Night Football reaped the biggest primetime rewards. Ahead of time zone adjustments, which typically lift live sports, the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys averaged a 8.1 rating among adults 18-49.
That's a handsome 47 percent surge from last week's Fast National returns for Sunday Night Football, though just over a point shy of last season's comparable game, a record-setter between Dallas and Washington. The game also averaged a considerable 23.9 million viewers, and overnight ratings (16.8) place it as the third-biggest Sunday Night Football showdown of the season.
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After three half-hour installments of Football Night in America leading into the game, NBC primetime averaged a 6.5 rating with adults 18-49 and 19.2 million viewers.
Among the competition, Fox saw repeats of its animation block bolstered by NFL overrun (6.4 adults), giving the network a nightly average of a 2.9 rating with adults 18-49 and 8.7 million viewers.
CBS had more modest NFL overrun (4.0 adults), leading into a 60 Minutes encore and the annual airing of the Kennedy Center Honors. The latter averaged a 0.9 rating with adults 18-49, down half of a point from last year. CBS took a 1.8 adults rating and 9.8 million viewers for the night.
As for ABC, an America's Funniest Home Videos repeat and an encore special showing of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone gave the network a 1.1 adults rating and 4.2 million viewers.