TV Ratings: Kennedy Center Honors, 'Sunday Night Football' Rise

THE 42nd ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, to be broadcast Sunday, Dec. 15 - CBS publicity-H 2019
Gail Schulman/CBS

CBS' annual Kennedy Center Honors special was up in viewers for the second straight year on Sunday, Dec. 15. NBC's Sunday Night Football also grew week to week.

The Kennedy Center Honors averaged 6.86 million total viewers over its two-hour running time, up about 4 percent from last year's 6.58 million (which, in turn, improved on 2017's audience). The show was steady in adults 18-49 with a 0.6 rating. The honorees included Sally Field, Sesame Street and Earth, Wind & Fire. At 7 p.m., 60 Minutes (8.32 million viewers, 0.8 in adults 18-49) was in line with its numbers on Sundays without a national NFL lead-in. A rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles closed the night for CBS.

Sunday Night Football delivered 15.78 million viewers in the fast nationals for the Buffalo Bills' 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. That's up 16 percent over last week's preliminary tally of 13.57 million, which ended up at 17.88 million in the finals. Per usual, SNF was the top show in primetime by a wide margin.

Fox's animation lineup was on par with the last time it had a national NFL lead-in: The Simpsons scored a 1.8 in adults 18-49, Bless the Harts a 1.0 and Bob's Burgers and Family Guy each a 0.9. 

ABC's annual showing of The Sound of Music drew just over 4 million viewers and a 0.6 in the 18-49 demo, off slightly from last year's broadcast (4.2 million, 0.7). The CW got a 0.1 in the demo from unscripted show Christmas Caroler Challenge.

NBC's 3.6 rating in adults 18-49 easily led primetime, ahead of the 2.0 for second-place Fox (pending updates for both). ABC and CBS tied for third at 0.6. Univision (0.3) beat out Telemundo (0.2) and The CW (0.1).

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