NFL Programming scores a touchdown with TV viewers

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The first week of the fall season had NBC feeling like must-see TV again.

The network that dominated prime time in the 1980s and 1990s won the week in total viewers for the first time in 18 years with an average evening audience of 7.5 million.

NBC won on the back of the NFL, with the matchup of the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints making “Sunday Night Football” the week’s runaway No. 1 show. The Nielsen company says the game had 24.1 million viewers.

CBS, now without ratings juggernaut “The Big Bang Theory,” finished second for the night, following 10 straight years of winning premiere week. It had an average of 6.9 million viewers.

The numbers were down from the comparable week last season for both networks.

Fox was third with 5.8 million, and ABC fourth with 4.7 million.

Here are the top ten prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Sept. 23-29. Listings include the week’s ranking and viewership.

1. NFL Football: Dallas at New Orleans, NBC, 24.1 million.

2. NFL Football: Philadelphia at Green Bay, Fox, 17.9 million.

3. “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 16.54 million.

4. “NCIS,” CBS, 12.58 million.

5. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 11.8 million.

6. “Football Night in America,” NBC, 12.26 million.

7. “Thursday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” Fox, 10.12 million.

8. NFL Football: Chicago at Washington, ESPN, 10.61 million.

9. “The Voice,” NBC, 8.94 million.

10. “FBI,” CBS, 8.83 million.

More about: