The Texan boys were truly back in town last night on the NFL on NBC. The network’s debut Sunday Night Football (9.1/23) of the regular season saw the Dallas Cowboys best the New York Giants 36-31. With Dallas forcing turnovers to clinch the victory over Eli Manning and NY at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and 23.25 million watching between 8:30 PM – 11 PM, the match-up dipped 7% from the fast nationals last season’s first Sunday regular game between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 9, 2012. It was also down from the final nationals rating of 11.0/28 that last year’s game garnered. That 2012 result is the all-time record for Sunday Night Football. Last September’s first Sunday regular season game pulled in 27.567 million viewers overall, the third best result SNF has ever had. The top SNF viewership is 30.281 million that the December 30, 2012 Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins received with the January 1, 2012 Cowboys-Giant battled coming second with 27.624 million watching. Last year, the Cowboys and the Giants were the September 5 opening game of the regular season facing off against Bill Clinton and the Democratic National Convention. In metered-market results, Sunday’s game got a 16.6/27 for the 8:30 PM – 11:45 PM game. That’s down from the record breaking 18.0/29 that last year’s Sunday opener pulled in in the time adjusted results. Running prior to the game, NBC’s Football Night in America got a 2.1/6 at 7 PM, a 3.1/9 at 7:30 PM and a 7.0/9 at 8 PM with 18.28 million tuning in for the last half hour.
Fox also had football last night in primetime with its regional NFL Football (7.9/25) overrun and The OT (7.5/22). Otherwise, Fox was all animation encores. Fast affiliate ratings are not time-zone adjusted, so expect Sunday’s numbers to change later in the day. However, not unexpected, NBC won the night both among adults 18-49 with a 7.2/19 rating and 18.720 million in total viewers.
Up against the NFL on NBC, CBS had fielded a full team on Sunday’s schedule. However, tennis moved all that around as the women’s final of the US Open went long. Running until 7:51 PM ET, that forced CBS’s primetime to slide for Sunday night. So 60 Minutes (1.9/5) aired at 8 PM. That was followed by Big Brother (1.9/5) at 9 PM and an original Unforgettable (0.9/2) at 10 PM. The former was up 6% while the season finale latter was down 10% from their September 1 shows. While CBS’ ratings will be adjusted more than usual in the final numbers today because of the Tennis overrun, right now fast affiliate ratings have Unforgettable hitting a series low last night. The police procedural is also down a hard 56% from the 2.0/5 its first season finale on May 8, 2012. Not ot be outdone, there was NFL on CBS too on Sunday, though not in primetime. Earlier in the day, the network saw its The NFL ON CBS afternoon broadcast rise 8% from last year in overnight household ratings to get a 11.2/23. That’s the best singleheader game debut for CBS in metered markets since the 12.0/28 it pulled in 1999.
ABC’s only original of the night was Secret Millionaire (1.1/3), which wrapped up its short fourth season with a 38% rise from last week’s show. That’s a rise of 10% from the show’s third season ender on August 12, 2012. Secret Millionaire aired on Fox for its first season before finding a new home on ABC.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.