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Not many of the games in the NFL’s wild card playoff round were competitive — but people tuned in anyway.
The five games played Saturday and Sunday averaged close to 31 million viewers — a 23 percent gain over the comparable matchups a year ago. (The sixth wild card game was on Monday night; ratings for the L.A. Rams’ win over the Arizona Cardinals will be released later in the day.)
CBS and Nickelodeon’s broadcast of the San Francisco 49ers’ win over the Dallas Cowboys drew by far the biggest audience of the weekend at just under 41.5 million viewers (40.16 million on CBS, 1.33 million on Nick). It was up 35 percent over the late Sunday afternoon game in 2021 (also on CBS and Nickelodeon) and was the most watched wild card game in seven years. CBS Sports also says the 49ers-Cowboys game was the most streamed NFL game (excluding Super Bowls) ever on Paramount+, though per usual with streaming outlets, no numbers back up the claim.
Fox’s Sunday afternoon game (Philadelphia Eagles-Tampa Bay Buccaneers) averaged 30.37 million viewers, up about 23 percent vs. the same window last year. NBC’s two games in the late afternoon Saturday (Bengals-Raiders, 27.7 million) and primetime Sunday (Chiefs-Steelers, 28.94 million), improved by 16 percent and 17 percent over last year. CBS’ Saturday primetime matchup (Bills-Patriots, 26.37 million) was up by 23 percent year to year.
Elsewhere on the weekend, the finale of Showtime’s Yellowjackets drew its second-largest night one audience of the season with 1.3 million viewers across all platforms. The previous week’s installment came in at 1.41 million. (Listen to creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson break down the finale on the TV’s Top 5 podcast.)
Showtime says the series is averaging 5 million viewers per episode to date — the highest for a first-year show on the premium cable outlet since Billions in 2016. It’s also the second-most-streamed series ever on Showtime, according to ViacomCBS (again, no concrete numbers are available), behind the recently concluded Dexter: New Blood.
NBC’s Saturday Night Live returned from its holiday break to 5.06 million viewers and a 1.02 rating among adults 18-49, slightly above its season average in both measures.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
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