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Rival Broadcast Net Finds a Way to Beat NBC and 'Sunday Night Football' TVbytheNumbers

NBC has been unbeatable in the Sunday night ratings all fall, with "Sunday Night Football" proving to be a ratings juggernaut. But NBC's Sunday night winning streak appears to have come to an end, based on Nielsen overnights for the key 18-49 demo.

TVbytheNumbers.com reports that Fox claimed a narrow win over NBC for prime time, with a preliminary 4.1 average rating in viewers 18-49 to NBC's 4.0. The key to Fox's success: more football, with NFL overrun fueling a hot start to Sunday prime.

The report notes that numbers for both networks are subject to more than the usual adjustments due to the nature of live programming. But the way prime time breaks down initially is this: Fox is on top with a 4.1 average in the 18-49 demo, followed by NBC (4.0), CBS (2.2), ABC (1.4) and Univision (0.8). NBC still comes out on top in total viewers with 12.2 million, followed by Fox (11.0 million), CBS (9.7 million), ABC (5.7 million) and Univision (1.9 million).

Fox got off to a strong start in prime time, with a 6.9 average in 18-49 for its NFL overrun at 7 p.m., followed by a 6.5 at 7:30 for its football wrapup show "The OT." That led in to a 3.5 for "The Simpsons," up four-tenths of a point from a week ago.

The rest of the Fox lineup was also up: "Bob's Burgers" rose three-tenths from a week ago in adults 18-49 to a 2.4; "Family Guy" also surged three-tenths, to a 3.0; and "American Dad" likewise climbed three-tenths, to a 2.4.

NBC settled for a 4.9 average in 18-49 for its "Sunday Night Football" game between the Bengals and Steelers, well below the 6.0 for last week's game. Leading in to Sunday's game, the pregame "Football Night in America" and "Pre-Kick" coverage delivered a 1.6 in the 7 p.m. half-hour, a 2.1 at 7:30 and a 4.0 at 8 p.m.

CBS had its own troubles, as the finale of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" served up the lowest rating for any finale in "Survivor" history, a 2.6 average in 18-49. That was one-tenth higher than the show's most recent episode, but off six-tenths from last year's fall finale.

The "Survivor" reunion special following the finale settled for a 1.9 average in the 18-49 demo, while "60 Minutes" dipped three-tenths from a week earlier to a 1.7.

ABC saw its lineup mostly drift downward. "Once Upon a Time" matched its all-time low with a 1.9, down two-tenths from last week in viewers 18-49. "Revenge" slipped one-tenth to a 1.5, and "America's Funniest Home Videos" also fell one-tenth, to a 1.4.

Defying the ABC downtrend was "Betrayal," which ticked up one-tenth from the series low recorded a week ago in the 18-49 demo to a still modest 0.8 average.

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