Nothing else on TV was a match for football on Thanksgiving. Surprise, surprise.
The Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints game helped NBC dominate the competition in Nielsen ratings for Thursday night primetime. The network won outright, claiming victories in both the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and among total viewers — and adding to its Black Friday bragging rights, after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ticked up 2 percent in early ratings.
The “Thursday Night Football” game topped NBC’s 2017 Turkey Day showdown between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins, which land a 4.2 rating/17 share in early numbers, compared to last night’s 5.5/24.
Fox came in a distant second place for the evening, thanks to “MasterChef Junior: Celebrity Showdown,” a special holiday edition of the Gordon Ramsay-hosted competitive children’s cooking series.
Due to the nature of live sports, the following overnight numbers for NBC are subject to significant adjustment when final data comes in.
NBC was first in ratings with a 5.5 rating/24 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 18 million, according to preliminary numbers. Those stats came courtesy of an NFL pregame show and the Saints’ victory over the Falcons, with programming running from 8 p.m. until outside the primetime window.
Fox was second in ratings with a 1.9/8 and in viewers with 6 million. The broadcaster filled its primetime block with the special “MasterChef Junior.”
CBS was third in ratings with a 0.7/3 and in viewers with 4.7 million. Sandwiched between repeats, “Murphy Brown” at 9:30 p.m. got a 0.8/3 and 4.7 million viewers.
ABC was fourth in ratings with a 0.4/2 and in viewers with 2.6 million. At 8, the “20/20: Behind the Magic” special managed a 0.4/2 and 3.1 million viewers. Back-to-back “ABC News Specials” aired from 9-11, with “Real Princess Diaries” receiving a 0.4/2 and 2.6 million viewers, followed by “I’m Coming Home,” which settled for a 0.3/1 and 2 million viewers.
The CW had a 0.1/1 and 632,000 viewers, with no new primetime programming.