Sunday Night Football first sports series to rank as most-watched primetime show for full TV season

With the conclusion of the 2011-12 television season last night, NBC’s Sunday Night Football topped all primetime entertainment programming to become the first sports series to finish the full fall-spring TV season as the most-watched show in primetime, according to The Nielsen Company.

Sunday Night Football averaged 21.5 million viewers for the full SNF season and 20.9 million viewers for its games during the official TV season which ran from Sept. 19, 2011 through May 23, 2012. American Idol ranked second.  Sunday Night Football was also the top-ranked primetime program for the television season in household rating, and all key adult and male demographics. 

Additional TV highlights from the 2011 NFL season:

  • Super Bowl XLVI on NBC was the most-watched program in U.S. television history.
  • The AFC and NFC Championship Games accounted for the most-watched Championship Sunday in 30 years.
  • Divisional Playoff weekend was the most watched ever, with Giants-Packers on FOX ranking as the most-watched Divisional Playoff game in history.
  • The Steelers-Broncos playoff game on CBS was the most-watched Wild Card game ever. 
  • FOX posted its most-watched NFL season ever.
  • CBS posted its second-most watched NFL season since acquiring the AFC package.
  • ESPN’s Monday Night Football was the most-watched series on cable for the sixth consecutive year.
  • NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football posted its most-watched season ever.

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