Ratings: ‘Sunday Night Football’ Plunges 39%; CBS Takes Night With NFL, ‘Survivor’

Football overrun and reality competition give CBS first win against NBC’s NFL coverage this season

Last Updated: December 19, 2011 @ 1:35 PM

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" dropped dramatically from last week, while CBS took the night's top ratings and the highest viewership Sunday night, according to preliminary numbers.

While the live-sports factor renders NBC's numbers approximate, early data indicates that the Baltimore Ravens-San Diego Chargers "Sunday Night Football" faceoff at 8:30 p.m. dropped 39 percent compared to last week's game, receiving a 5.2 rating/13 share in the adults 18-49 market, with 13.8 million total viewers. The game was preceded by three consecutive episodes of "Football Night in America" from 7 to 8:30, which drew a 1.8/5 in the demo and 6 million total viewers, a 3.1/9 and 8.8 million, and a 3.7/10 and 13.8 million.

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Football fared better on CBS. While the numbers are approximate, NFL overrun on the network from 7 to 7:30 was the highest-rated programming of the night with an 8.0/23 in the demo, and also the most-watched programming of the night with 26.8 million total viewers. (Different games aired in different regions.) The overrun gave a considerable boost to "60 Minutes" at 7:33 p.m., which enjoyed a 47 percent surge for a 4.4/12 in the demo and 18.7 million total viewers. The "Survivor" season finale at 8:30 drew a 4.0/10 in the demo and 13 million total viewers, while the "Survivor" reunion episode closed the night at 10:30, receiving a 3.2/8 in the demo and 10.2 million total viewers. Overall, the network took a ratings win with an average 4.5/11 in the demo — its first Sunday night win in the demo against NBC's football coverage this season — and snagged the highest total viewership, averaging 15.8 million total viewers.

Following repeats of "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Once Upon a Time," ABC aired "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," which was down 32 percent from the equivalent telecast last year with a 1.3/3 in the demo and 4 million total viewers.

With the exception of "Allen Gregory" at 8:30, which received a 1.5/4 in the demo and 3.3 million total viewers, Fox aired repeats Sunday night.