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Sep 9, 7:44 PM EDT

Football's return means big win for NBC


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NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC is certainly ready for some football, given how the NFL's return enabled the network to flatten its competition last week.

The Nielsen company said NFL games on Thursday and Sunday each drew more than 20 million viewers - and the most a non-football related program reached last week was an "NCIS" rerun with 10.6 million.

The 26.9 million who watched Thursday's kickoff game between Seattle and Green Bay represented a 7 percent increase over the first game in 2013, which matched Baltimore and Denver.

Sunday's game, between Indianapolis and Denver, had 23.7 million viewers and was down 7 percent from the first Sunday game a year ago. Last year's game matched Dallas and the New York Giants, two teams with big national followings.

The two games enabled NBC to average 11.1 million viewers in prime time and win the week. CBS had 5.9 million viewers, Fox had 5 million, ABC had 3.7 million, Univision had 2.9 million, Telemundo had 1.3 million, ION Television had 1.2 million and the CW had 1 million.

Last week made it 260 consecutive weeks - or five years - that NBC's "Nightly News" has won the evening news ratings race, a victory that came during David Muir's debut week as anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight." ABC was closer than usual this week, helped by strong numbers on Thursday, when NBC wasn't rated because of a football interruption on the West Coast.

"Nightly News" averaged 8.5 million, "World News Tonight" had 8.3 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.5 million.

The Disney Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.13 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 2.12 million, History had 1.97 million, USA had 1.71 million and Fox News Channel had 1.67 million.

For the week of Sept. 1-7, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Green Bay at Seattle, NBC, 26.91 million; NFL Football: Indianapolis at Denver, NBC, 23.69 million; "NFL Thursday Pre-Kick Show," NBC, 20.99 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick Show, NBC, 18.81 million; "Football Night in America Pt. 3," NBC, 14.03 million; "The OT," Fox, 12.46 million; "NFL Opening Kickoff Show," NBC, 11.79 million; "NCIS" (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 10.6 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 10.47 million; "NCIS," CBS, 10.36 million.

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

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Online:

http://www.nielsen.com

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