Pre-season football is upon us, gumming up early ratings for those who cover such things, but bringing joy and happiness to TV networks carrying the games. NBC’s numbers are very approximate, due to nature of live sports. But, at first glance, NBC’s Madden NFL Pigskin Pro-Am  (1.3 rating) fell 7% from last year’s fast nationals (1.4). After that, NFL Pre-Season Game #2 Pre-Kick clocked a 2.1 demo rating and the actual game – Minnesota at San Francisco, logged a 2.1 rating which would be down 28% compared to last year’s pre-season Game 2 fast nationals (2.9, Carolina at NY Jets). Still, NBC tentatively boasted the night scored its second-highest NBC Sunday average since January 27 (AFC-NFC Pro Bowl), trailing over that span only August 4, the night of the Hall of Fame Game (5.6/10 from 7-11 p.m.).

Against NBC’s NFL programming, Fox’s animated comedies (1.3 rating, 3.3 million viewers) tied in the demo at 7 PM last night with CBS’ 60 Minutes running laps ahead of them in total viewers (1.1, 8.6 million). At 8 PM, NBC (1.3 rating, 3.3 million viewers) tied CBS’ Big Brother (1.3, 4.2 million), with Big Brother climbing another 10% from last week –which maybe helps explain why ABC’s Family Dance Off special (0.7) came in 36% behind last year’s Time Machine Chefs special on the comparable night (1.1 rating).

At 9, NBC took off (2.1 rating 6.7 million), though CBS’s Unforgettable ( 1.2, 6.8 million) was up 9% compared to last week’s series low; ABC’ Secret Millionaire (0.9/2) fell 25% week-to-week and hit a new season low.

At 10, the game clocked a 2.0 rating and 5.8 million viewers. NBC wound up in first place in the demo, followed by CBS and Fox. Fox boasted it was tops with teens.