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The NFL’s two conference title games scored huge audiences on Sunday, besting last year’s conference championship weekend. CBS’ primetime broadcast of the AFC contest was the most watched for either conference in four years and helped a post-game Fire Country score its best ratings of the season by far.
CBS averaged 53.12 million viewers for the Kansas City Chiefs’ last-second win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The telecast was up 6 percent over the same broadcast window in 2022 (50.23 million viewers for the NFC Championship on Fox) and 11 percent over last year’s AFC title game (47.85 million), which had the afternoon slot. It was the biggest audience for either conference championship game since 2019, when 53.92 million people watched the AFC title matchup.
Fox drew 47.5 million viewers for the Philadelphia Eagles’ blowout of the San Francisco 49ers, off by 5 percent from its primetime NFC Championship a year ago and about even with the 47.85 million for last year’s afternoon telecast on CBS.
The two games averaged 50.31 million viewers, a 3 percent bump from the 49 million viewers for last year’s games.
Fire Country, meanwhile, soared to 10.08 million viewers, easily its best showing to date — no surprise, given that its lead-in was the most watched primetime telecast of the TV season so far and 10 times larger than the typical Friday episode of SWAT. The 10.08 million viewers for the first-year drama is 76 percent above its same-day season average of 5.72 million viewers and topped its previous season high (set the previous week) of 6.1 million by almost 4 million people. The episode drew a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49, four times its usual number in the key ad demographic.
Fire Country also delivered CBS’ best post-AFC Championship audience since 2017 (the debut of the short-lived reality series Hunted). An episode of FBI drew just under 9 million viewers following the AFC Championship two years ago.
The other broadcast networks largely stayed out of football’s way on Sunday, but HBO’s The Last of Us grew its audience for the second straight week.
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