Sports, Final Debate Dominate Week 5's 3-Day Ratings

Donald Trump And Joe Biden Participate In Final Debate
Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images

A handful of network series premiered in the week of Oct. 19, and a couple of them cracked the top 20 in the three-day ratings for the period. But as has been the case for the entirety of the season to this point, live events dominate the top of the charts.

The final presidential debate (and analysis afterward), three primetime NFL games and the World Series take up more than half the spots in the top 20 for Oct. 19-25. The three-day figures also don't include network broadcasts of the final presidential debate, as it aired without commercials. ABC drew 11.23 million same-day viewers for its coverage, while NBC averaged 10.63 million, both of which would make the top 10 in the three-day rankings if included.

NBC's Sunday Night Football ranks first in the key ad demographic of adults 18-49 with a 4.38 rating, more than half a point ahead of the No. 2 show, ESPN's Monday Night Football. On the total viewer chart, 60 Minutes — featuring interviews with both leading presidential candidates and their running mates, including the one Donald Trump cut short — leads with 18.45 million, 2.7 million people clear of Fox News' debate telecast.

The season premiere of The Conners posted the largest three-day gains of any primetime show, improving by 0.37 points in adults 18-49 and 1.68 million total viewers. The Voice's two-night premiere also made the top 20.

The top 20 primetime shows in Nielsen's live plus three-day rankings for Oct. 19-25 are below. They don't include sports pre- and postgame shows.

Adults 18-49

Show Network Live +3
18-49 rating
Change vs. live + SD % change vs. live + SD
Sunday Night Football NBC 4.38 0.05 1%
Monday Night Football ESPN 3.8 0.24 7%
Thursday Night Football Fox 3.41 0.21 7%
Presidential Debate FNC 2.70 0.09 3%
60 Minutes CBS 2.64 0.14 6%
World Series Game 5 Fox 2.6 0.03 1%
World Series Game 1 Fox 2.44 0.03 1%
World Series Game 2 Fox 2.35 0.03 1%
World Series Game 4 Fox 2.35 0.01 0%
Debate Analysis FNC 2.08 0.03 2%
World Series Game 3 Fox 2.02 0.03 1%
Presidential Debate CNN 1.98 0.04 2%
Debate Analysis ABC 1.6 0.03 2%
Debate Analysis NBC 1.56 0.01 1%
The Bachelorette ABC 1.51 0.34 29%
The Voice - Monday NBC 1.5 0.28 23%
The Voice - Tuesday NBC 1.3 0.22 20%
Big Brother - Wednesday CBS 1.29 0.28 28%
The Conners ABC 1.26 0.37 41%
Big Brother - Thursday CBS 1.23 0.26 27%

Total Viewers

Show Network Live +3
viewers (000s)
Change vs. live + SD % change vs. live + SD
60 Minutes CBS 18,452 1,056 6%
Presidential Debate FNC 15,726 321 2%
Sunday Night Football NBC 14,488 182 1%
Debate Analysis FNC 12,316 173 1%
Monday Night Football ESPN 11,882 565 5%
Thursday Night Football Fox 10,624 556 6%
World Series Game 5 Fox 10,182 123 1%
The Voice - Monday NBC 9,647 1,445 18%
World Series Game 4 Fox 9,384 52 1%
World Series Game 1 Fox 9,303 108 1%
World Series Game 2 Fox 9,154 119 1%
The Voice - Tuesday NBC 8,904 1,174 15%
Tucker Carlson Tonight - Thursdsay FNC 8,262 110 1%
World Series Game 3 Fox 8,248 92 1%
Presidential Debate CNN 7,633 125 2%
Debate Analysis ABC 7,552 142 2%
Presidential Debate MSNBC 7,037 108 2%
Dancing With the Stars ABC 6,743 971 17%
Debate Analysis MSNBC 6,689 95 1%
The Conners ABC 6,597 1,680 34%