8:56am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Sunday Night Football' Climbs, 'Once Upon a Time' Falls
Preliminary Sunday ratings brought good news for NBC. Not only was the latest installment of Sunday Night Football up 30 percent in the demo for an early 9.5 rating among adults 18-49, the Colts-Broncos game gave the franchise its best overnight returns (17.3 rating and 29 share) in 15 years.
PHOTOS: Hollywood's Connections to the NFL
That makes it the highest-rated game of the season and the fourth-highest in NBC's NFL history. Early nightly averages give the network a 7.8 rating with adults 18-49 and 21.5 million viewers.
Distant runner-up CBS kicked off the night with strong NFL overage, delaying its primetime lineup by 30 minutes. Tentative early numbers give The Amazing Race an even 1.9 rating in the adults 18-49, while The Good Wife (1.4 adults) moved up two-tenths of a point and The Mentalist (1.2 adults) dropped a tenth from last week. CBS scored a 2.7 adults rating and 12.7 million viewers.
ABC kicked off the night with a steady America's Funniest Home Videos (1.1 adults). Once Upon a Time (2.0 adults) dropped four-tenths of a point at 8 p.m. to tie a series low, while Revenge (1.5 adults) lost a tenth of a point. Both dramas, which have seen steady drops in live-plus-same-day this season, continue to post strong gains among time-shifted viewings -- rising 46 percent (Once) and 53 percent (Revenge) in the latest live-plus-7 figures. Betrayal (0.9 adults) improved by a tenth of a point from last week, giving ABC a 1.4 adults and 5.6 million viewers for the night.
Airing encores of its animation block, Fox posted a 1.1 rating with adults 18-49 and 2.7 million viewers.