TV Ratings: NFL Outkicks Election Coverage Thursday

Green Bay Packers runs against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter at Levi's Stadium on November 05, 2020.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ongoing coverage of the presidential election brought more big numbers to cable news on Thursday, but football ruled the night's primetime ratings. The Bachelorette also hit season highs with its big (and heavily foretold) twist.

The Fox/NFL Network Thursday Night Football broadcast was far and away the most watched program in primetime, drawing 13.17 million viewers and a 3.8 rating among adults 18-49. It was the second biggest Thursday game of 2020 so far, behind Fox's first telecast of the season on Oct. 8.

CNN led the cable news channels for the second straight night, averaging 6.61 million viewers across primetime. Fox News drew 5.72 million people from 8-11 p.m., and MSNBC came in with 5.07 million — and was the only one of the three to grow its audience from Wednesday.

Thanks to its big lead on election night, Fox News remains the leader for primetime election coverage as a whole. On Thursday, CNN also had the 10 top-rated hours on cable among adults 25-54, the key news demographic, and the top 13 hours in the 18-49 demo.

The Bachelorette earned a 1.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 5.61 million viewers — both season highs — for Clare Crawley's early exit from the show. ABC's election news special at 10 p.m. (3.2 million viewers) topped those on NBC (2.41 million) and CBS (2.18 million).

On CBS, the season premieres of Young Sheldon (0.7 in 18-49, 6.77 million viewers) and Mom (0.6, 4.82 million) came in a good bit below their 2019-20 averages. New comedy B Positive premiered in between the two and scored a 0.6 in adults 18-49 and 5.14 million viewers. America Ferrera's final episode of Superstore on NBC posted a 0.5 in the demo and 2.24 million viewers.

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