Dec 6, 7:21 PM EST

Parton, Christmas tree lighting, Cowboys give NBC big week



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NEW YORK (AP) -- With the help of Dolly Parton, an iconic Christmas tree lighting, "The Voice" and the Dallas Cowboys, NBC enjoyed one of its best weeks in television ratings in years.

Aside from times when NBC had the Olympics or Super Bowl, the week ending Sunday was the network's most-watched in 19 years, said Bob Greenblatt, NBC chairman.

The Parton movie, "Christmas of Many Colors," finished among the Nielsen company's top 10 programs last week. The network also had strong weeks for "The Voice" and the growing freshman drama, "This is Us."

NBC hopes its success continues this week with the high-profile musical "Hairspray Live!" airing Wednesday.

"We always plan for these December bumps (in the ratings) because we have so many specials," Greenblatt said. "They just give us a little lift that we've come to expect. Thankfully, it's the case this year."

With the Cowboys playing on NBC Thursday night, that NFL game accomplished the unusual feat of getting a higher rating than NBC's Sunday night game.

NBC averaged 10.6 million viewers for the week. CBS was second with 6.7 million viewers, Fox had 5.8 million, ABC had 5 million, the CW had 2.1 million, Univision had 1.8 million, Telemundo had 1.7 million and ION Television had 1.4 million.

The election's over, but Fox News Channel was still the most popular cable network last week, averaging 2.59 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 2.57 million, Hallmark had 2.25 million, AMC had 1.57 million and ABC Family had 1.53 million.

"NBC Nightly News'" won the evening news race, averaging 9.3 million viewers to 9.1 million for "ABC World News Tonight." The "CBS Evening News" had 7.6 million.

For the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Dallas at Minnesota, NBC, 21.76 million; NFL Football: Carolina at Seattle, NBC, 17.75 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 14.54 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 13.65 million; NFL Football: Green Bay at Philadelphia, ESPN, 13.06 million; "Thursday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 12.23 million; "The OT," Fox, 12.18 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 11.85 million; Movie: "Christmas of Many Colors," NBC, 11.58 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 10.64 million viewers.

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This story has been corrected to show that for the week ending Sunday, "NBC Nightly News'" averaged 9.3 million viewers, "ABC World News Tonight" had 9.1 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.6 million. The story originally reported the season-to-date numbers.

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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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