NBC unwrapped a welcome gift in the final week of 2012, a ratings victory powered by Sunday night football.
More than 30 million viewers watched the Washington Redskins defeat the Dallas Cowboys and claim their first division title in 13 years, according to Nielsen Co. figures released Tuesday.
The NFL contest drew the biggest audience in 16 years for a regular-season prime-time game, second to a 1996 Packers-Cowboy contest, NBC said.
The network, making a comeback after a string of lackluster seasons, ranked No. 1 in total viewers and in the advertiser-favored young adult demographic for Dec. 24-30.
In a week that TV typically surrenders to the holidays, CBS captured half of the top 10 slots with repeats of reliable series including "The Big Bang Theory." The Kennedy Center Honors special also performed well for CBS, drawing 8.2 million viewers to claim the 13th spot.
For the week overall, NBC averaged 7.35 million viewers in prime time (4.3 rating, 8 share). CBS was second with 6.6 million viewers (4.3 rating, 7 share), while ABC had 3.97 million (2.3 rating, 4 share), Fox had 3.95 million (2.3 rating, 4 share), the CW had 990,000 (.6 rating, 1 share) and Ion had 1.15 million (.8 rating, 1 share).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with an average of 3.36 million viewers (1.6 rating, 3 share). Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.6 rating, 1 share), TeleFutura had 1 million (0.5 rating, 1 share), Estrella had 220,000 (0.1 rating, 0 share) and Azteca had 90,000 (0.1 rating, 0 share).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.1 million viewers (5.9 household rating, 11 share). ABC's "World News" was second with 8.3 million (5.4 rating, 10 share) and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.2 million viewers (4.8 rating, 9 share).
A ratings point represents 1,147,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.7 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.
For Dec. 24-30, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NBC Sunday Night Football," NBC, 30.3 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 21.9 million; "The OT," Fox, 17.8 million; "Football Night America (Part 3)," NBC, 15.9 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 12 million; "Person of Interest," 10.33 million, CBS; "60 Minutes," CBS, 10.27 million; "NCIS," CBS, 9.8 million; "NBA Christmas Special," ABC, 9.6 million; "NCIS Los Angeles," CBS, 8.6 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is a unit of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.