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‘Yellowstone’ gallops in rankings race, but NFL still wins


The fifth-season premiere of “Yellowstone” drew the most important audience of any non-sports cable or broadcast program within the 8-week-old 2022-23 prime-time television season, and its second episode, which immediately followed, drew the second-largest.

Sunday’s season premiere of the Kevin Costner-starring neo-Western averaged 12.493 million viewers combined on seven Paramount cable networks, including 9.409 million on the Paramount Network, in accordance with live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday. The 73-minute second episode averaged 11.289 million viewers, including 8.439 million on Paramount Network.

Paramount Network’s viewership for the season premiere was essentially the most for any cable program between Nov. 7 and Sunday and fourth overall behind Fox’s NFL postgame show Sunday, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and its pre-kickoff show.

Viewership for the second episode of “Yellowstone” was sixth for the week, trailing the Nov. 7 “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN, which averaged 9.356 million viewers for the Baltimore Ravens’ 27-13 victory over the Recent Orleans Saints.

The 56th annual CMA Awards on ABC averaged 7.454 million viewers, eighth for the week, third amongst entertainment programs. The audience was the ceremony’s largest since 2019 when it averaged 11.278 million viewers.

CBS’ “Young Sheldon” was the top-rated comedy for the seventh time within the seven episodes it has aired this season, averaging 7.135 million viewers, eleventh for the week, seventh amongst non-sports programs and fourth amongst entertainment programs.

The CBS police procedural “East Recent York” was the highest-ranked latest series for the fourth time in its six episodes, averaging 4.696 million viewers, twenty fourth for the week, seventeenth amongst non-sports programs and thirteenth amongst entertainment programs.

“Sunday Night Football” had its second-smallest audience amongst its 10 broadcasts of the 2022 season, 15.843 million viewers, for the San Francisco 49ers’ 22-16 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers were held scoreless within the second half after leading 16-10 at halftime.

With the World Series concluded, NBC returned to the highest of the rankings, averaging 5.02 million viewers. Outside of its NFL programming, NBC’s rankings leader was “Chicago Fire,” sixteenth for the week, tenth amongst non-sports programs and seventh amongst entertainment programs, averaging 6.137 million viewers.

Fox was second after its back-to-back first-place finishes the previous two weeks with the World Series, averaging 4.45 million viewers, including 63 minutes of NFL programming Sunday that averaged 29.77 million viewers.

Fox’s rankings leader was its seven-minute NFL postgame show, which averaged 18.132 million viewers following a 56-minute runover of afternoon NFL coverage into prime time within the Eastern and Central time zones, where the majority of the nation’s population lives. Viewership for the runover was not available. It is just not considered a separate program but is included within the network’s weekly average.

Fox’s top non-NFL program was an episode of “The Simpsons,” which followed the postgame show and averaged 4.771 million viewers, twenty second for the week, fifteenth amongst non-sports programs and eleventh amongst entertainment programs.

ABC finished third, averaging 3.92 million viewers. CBS was fourth, averaging 3.65 million. “60 Minutes” was its most-watched program, averaging a season-low 6.769 million viewers, thirteenth for the week and eighth amongst non-sports programs.

The CW averaged 420,000 viewers. The crime drama “Walker” was its biggest draw for the third time in six weeks, averaging 768,000 viewers, 126th amongst broadcast programs. Its overall rating was not available.

The highest 20 prime-time programs consisted of Fox’s NFL postgame show; two NFL games; three NFL pregame shows; two episodes of “Yellowstone”; three Fox News Channel hourlong election results segments; the CMA Awards; “60 Minutes”; three CBS scripted programs; three NBC entertainment programs; and the Fox procedural drama “9-1-1.”

The mixture of its coverage of the midterm elections results and weeknight political talk shows made Fox News Channel the week’s top-ranked cable network, averaged 3.151 million viewers. ESPN averaged 2.194 million viewers to complete second after back-to-back first-place finishes, five in six weeks and eight in 10 weeks.

MSNBC was third, averaging 1.655 million viewers, followed by Paramount Network, which averaged 1.582 million viewers, and Hallmark Channel, averaging 1.233 million viewers.

CNN was the one other cable network to average greater than 1 million viewers for its prime-time programming, averaging 1.194 million, sixth for the week.

Fox News Channel averaged 7.422 million viewers for its prime-time election coverage on Nov. 8, 131.2% greater than MSNBC’s average of three.21 million.

The cable top 20 consisted of three episodes of “Yellowstone”; ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and its 15-minute kickoff show; all three of Fox News Channel’s hourlong election results segments; two of MSNBC’s hourlong election results segments; nine Fox News Channel weeknight political talk shows (4 broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” three of “Hannity” and two of “The Ingraham Angle”); and ESPN’s coverage of Saturday’s Georgia-Mississippi State college football game.

The fifth season of “The Crown” was Netflix’s most-streamed program, with viewers watching its 10 episodes for 107.39 million hours over the primary five days they were available.

“Manifest” dropped one spot to second, with viewers watching the primary 10 episodes of the supernatural drama’s fourth season for 74.78 million hours of their first full week of release, 31.1% greater than the 57.06 million hours watched the previous week after they were available for 3 days.

“Enola Holmes 2” was Netflix’s hottest movie for the second time within the two weeks it has been available, with viewers spending 62.86 million hours watching the mystery in its first full week of release, 1.9% lower than the 64.08 million hours watched the previous week when it was available for 3 days.

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