Brave or Stupid? How CBS and ABC’s Originals Held Up Against NFL Kickoff Game

One of the CBS reality competition shows actually added 100,000 viewers against NBC’s pigskin play

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The NFL returned on Thursday, but NBC’s traditional competitors CBS and ABC didn’t run scared from the Houston Texans-Kansas City Chiefs game. Should they have, though?

Between CBS and ABC, only one of six hours (CBS at 10 p.m.) was a rerun.

CBS aired an original “Big Brother” at 8 p.m. and a new episode of the reality show “Love Island” at 9. A rerun ran at 10.

ABC aired the “Holey Moley” Season 2 finale at 8 and then a special about the putt-putt competition at 9. At 10, the Disney-owned broadcast network ran a shark-attack special.

Fox wisely aired all repeats last night.

Impressively, “Big Brother” and “Love Island” both stayed steady with last week’s preliminary Nielsen numbers, respectively posting a 1.0 rating and a 0.4 rating in the key demo. While “Big Brother” shed about 200,000 total viewers week-to-week, “Love Island” actually added about 100,000 viewers.

For ABC, the “Holey Moley” finale and special suffered as sports fans migrated to NBC for the big game. The Season 2 finale at 8 lost one-tenth of a Nielsen ratings point (from a 0.5 to a 0.4) and 100,000 total viewers.

At 9, the “Holey Moley” special dropped an additional one-tenth of a Nielsen ratings point (to a 0.3) in the key demo and lost a whopping 1.2 million total viewers from its lead-in.

ABC’s “Shark Attack” special did not perform well either, but it’s harder to compare such a one-off to regular programming.

The first NFL game of the regular season declined 16% from last year’s comparable game. Still, it was a big win for NBC, and quite an improvement in the time slot since the network aired all reruns last Thursday.

Find all of last night’s primetime ratings here.

The NFL Kickoff Game kicked off at 8:20 p.m. ET. The above Nielsen numbers are not adjusted for timezones, so we can expect NBC’s raw numbers to rise, but the general year-to-year percentage decline should stay more or less the same when comparing apples to apples.

Tony Maglio

Tony Maglio

TV Editor • tony.maglio@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tonymaglio



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