The World Series shook up prime-time television viewing, helping Fox knock off CBS for the week.
Three of the first four World Series games between Texas and St. Louis finished among the 10 most popular programs for the week, Nielsen said Tuesday. The only exception was Saturday's third game, a Cardinals blowout that coincided with the night many of Fox's young viewers are out and away from the TV.
Fox has moved ahead of CBS for the season in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic it targets. That's unusual because Fox's season usually doesn't heat up until "American Idol" comes back on the air in January.
More than 15 million people watched the Series' fourth game on Sunday night, Nielsen said. That meant baseball eclipsed football; NBC's Sunday night NFL game had a season-low 12.5 million viewers, burdened with a non-competitive game between New Orleans and Indianapolis.
The two sports events also opened up an opportunity for ABC, which debuted its fantasy drama "Once Upon a Time" Sunday night to particularly strong ratings. It had just under 13 million viewers and was the season's most popular premiere episode among 18-to-49-year-old viewers, Nielsen said.
Sixty-four percent of the "Once Upon a Time" viewers were women, Nielsen said. That's in line with ABC in general; 65 percent of its prime-time audience, on average, is women.
Fox's average in prime time last week was 11.9 million viewers (7.2 rating, 12 share). CBS was second with 11 million (6.9, 11), ABC had 8.7 million (5.6, 9), NBC had 5.3 million (3.4, 6), the CW had 1.8 million (1.2, 2) and ION Television had 990,000 (0.7, 1).
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with a prime-time average of 3.3 million viewers (1.7 rating, 3 share). Telemundo had 1.1 million (0.6, 1), TeleFutura had 410,000 (0.2, 0), Azteca had 240,000 and Estrella 210,000 (both 0.1, 0).
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.4 million viewers (5.7, 11). ABC's "World News" was second with 7.6 million (5.2, 10) and the "CBS Evening News" had 6 million viewers (4.1, 8).
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 the week of Oct. 17-23, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "NCIS," CBS, 19.41 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 17.76 million; "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 15.35 million; World Series Game 4: St. Louis vs. Texas, Fox, 15.16 million; "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 15.14 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 14.93 million; "The OT," Fox, 14.69 million; World Series Game 2: Texas vs. St. Louis, Fox, 14.28 million; World Series Game 1: Texas vs. St. Louis, Fox, 14.17 million; "Dancing With the Stars Results," ABC, 13.8 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 and My Network TV are units 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.