Monday, June 17, 2019
  • Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
NFL Playoff Viewership Down 16%; Nielsen Week In Review
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates his touchdown pass to Chris Hogan during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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Television viewership for the NFL’s divisional round playoff games was down 16 percent compared to last year, offering ammunition to critics of the football league, but there are a couple of compelling explanations.

The weekend’s four games averaged 30.43 million viewers, off from 36.22 million the year before, the Nielsen company said. The NFL has received some blowback from President Donald Trump and his supporters for protests involving the National Anthem, with some suggesting that had something to do with the audience being smaller for games this season.

Last year had a blockbuster game between two rivals with national followings, Green Bay and Dallas, which reached more than 48 million viewers. Nothing came close this year, with the most-watched game, involving the furious finish between Minnesota and New Orleans, reaching 35.64 million people.

Two of last year’s games were also in prime-time, which naturally boosts the audience. This year only one of the games — Tennessee at New England — was in prime-time, and that was non-competitive.

CBS easily won the week in primetime, averaging 10.7 million viewers. Fox had 6.7 million, NBC had 4.6 million, ABC had 4.3 million, Univision had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 1 million.

ESPN was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 4.52 million viewers in prime-time. Fox News Channel had 2.15 million, MSNBC had 1.93 million, HGTV had 1.48 million and USA had 1.3 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.9 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 9.7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.3 million.

Below are primetime viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Jan. 8-14. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.

1. College Football Championship: Alabama vs. Georgia, ESPN, 27.7 million.
2. NFL Playoff: Tennessee at New England, CBS, 26.69 million.
3. “NFL Playoff Post-Game,” Fox, 23.44 million.
4. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 15.93 million.
5. “College Football Championship Pre-Game,” ESPN, 15.66 million.
6. “NCIS,” CBS, 14.24 million.
7. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 14.17 million.
8. “College Football Championship Post-Game,” ESPN, 13.59 million.
9. “Bull,” CBS, 10.5 million.
10. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 10.17 million.
11. “This is Us,” NBC, 9.65 million.
12. “Mom,” CBS, 9.54 million.
13. “Hawaii Five-0,” CBS, 9.38 million.
14. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 9.12 million.
15. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 8.7 million.
16. “The Good Doctor,” ABC, 8.3 million.
17. “MacGyver,” CBS, 8.14 million.
18. “The Simpsons,” Fox, 8.04 million.
19. “Ellen’s Game of Games,” NBC, 7.89 million.
20. “The Big Bang Theory” (Monday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 7.75 million.

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.; CBS is a division of CBS Corp.; Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox; NBC is owned by NBC Universal.


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