CBS' Thursday Night Football debut predictably walloped the competition last night. The Denver Broncos versus Kansas City Chiefs telecast, airing on CBS and simulcast on NFL Network, earned a best-ever rating for the sophomore franchise with a 14.3 rating/25 share in metered markets, up 4% from last year's Steelers-Ravens inaugural Thursday Night Football contest.
CBS posted a primetime 5.0 rating/17 share in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen overnight numbers, well ahead of NBC’s 1.1/4, ABC’s 0.6/2, Fox’s 0.5/2 and CW’s 0.3/1. ABC, Fox and The CW were in reruns, while NBC took some swings with personality-driven specials. Jeff Dunham: Unhinged in Hollywood, starring the comedian and ventriloquist, showed a 1.2/5 across 8-9 p.m., while Mat Franco’s Got Magic, a two-hour special featuring a bit with Neil Patrick Harris of NBC's Best Time Ever, averaged a 1.1/4. Franco won America’s Got Talent in 2014.
The football telecast on CBS averaged a 5.0 rating in 18-49 viewers, including the pregame show. The franchise is back next week with Washington Redskins versus New York Giants.
The first year of Thursday Night Football, with CBS airing seven games for $275 million, averaged 16.5 million viewers on CBS and NFL Network. This year’s package went for a reported $300 million.
The NFL season kicked off on NBC the previous Thursday, with a New England Patriots-Pittsburgh Steelers game averaging a 17.7 household rating and 30 share in the 56 Nielsen metered markets.