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College football returned in a big way over the weekend, bringing big audiences to ABC and Fox.
Four games from the first full weekend slate of the year drew better than 5 million viewers on the two networks, and both ABC and Fox posted huge gains over last year’s truncated schedule, which was played in mostly empty stadiums. The big weekend returns follow a strong performance for Fox with a Thursday primetime game.
ABC’s primetime Saturday telecast of Georgia’s 10-3 victory over Clemson led the weekend slate with 8.86 million viewers. That’s more than double the audience for the network’s primetime college slate in 2020 (3.77 million). It also beat ABC’s most watched primetime regular season game last year by about 2.3 million viewers.
A Sunday primetime telecast on ABC (Notre Dame vs. Florida State) drew 7.75 million viewers, the network’s biggest audience on the night since game three of the NBA Finals in July. The network’s Saturday afternoon telecast of Alabama’s win over Miami delivered 5.67 million viewers.
Fox had solid tune-in for its Saturday game between Penn State and Wisconsin, averaging 5.41 million viewers in the noon ET slot. In primetime, UCLA’s upset of LSU drew 3.22 million viewers — a 72 percent jump over the network’s primetime college football average a year ago.
The big college football audience on Sunday likely depressed the audience some for CBS’ Big Brother (3.36 million viewers, 0.75 rating in adults 18-49), which was down from a week earlier (4.11 million, 0.99). AMC’s The Walking Dead led cable in the 18-49 demographic Sunday with a 0.49 rating, edging the 0.48 for Rick & Morty on Adult Swim.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
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