With the Ray Rice domestic violence controversy swirling around the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens, CBS rolled out its most high-stakes fall program, “Thursday Night Football,” last night, and predictably, raked in huge ratings.
Variety reports that the Ravens’ 26-6 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, simulcast on CBS and NFL Network, delivered a combined 13.7 household rating/23 share for the two networks, based on Nielsen’s metered-market overnights for 56 of the largest markets.
CBS’s portion of that number was an 11.2, with NFL Network pulling a 2.5.
The report notes that the combined figure more than doubled the 6.6 delivered last year for the NFL Network’s solo coverage of the Thursday night opener, which featured the New York Jets and New England Patriots.
“The rating may have been boosted by the maelstrom surrounding the league’s punishment of Ray Rice, but it also likely was dinged a bit by the lopsided result. The Ravens dominated the second half and put the game away with three fourth-quarter field goals,” Variety notes.
The report adds: “For the night, CBS and NFL Network averaged a 12.9 household rating/22 share in the metered markets, more than triple what CBS did a year ago on the comparable night (4.1/7) with ‘Big Brother’ and other, mostly repeat programming.”
Preliminary prime-time results in other metrics Thursday night break down like this for the broadcast networks: In the key 18-49 demo, CBS led the way with a 5.2 rating/17 share, followed by NBC, 1.4/4; Univision, 1.1/4; Fox, 0.7/2; Telemundo, 0.6/2; ABC, 0.5/2; CW, 0.2/1.
CBS was also a big winner in total viewers with 15.2 million, followed by NBC, 5.0 million; Univision, 2.8 million; Fox, 2.5 million; ABC, 2.1 million; Telemundo, 1.5 million; CW, 0.7 million.