NEW YORK (AP) — The latest GOP debate edged out NFL football and beat everything else to score as last week's most-watched prime-time program, leaving Democrats and even Adele in the dust.
The Republican presidential faceoff (the party's fifth, this time from Las Vegas on Dec. 15) drew 18.17 million viewers to CNN, according to the Nielsen ratings company.
Sunday's NFL game between Arizona and Philadelphia, aired on NBC, was the week's runner-up with 18.11 million viewers.
"Adele Live in New York," also aired by NBC, ranked 11th. It was seen by 11.27 million viewers. The New Hampshire debate by Democratic presidential hopefuls, airing Saturday on ABC, drew 8 million viewers to rank 21st for the week.
But overall, CBS led in prime time with an average 8.9 million viewers, with its series "The Big Bang Theory" (ranked No. 3) and "NCIS" (No. 4) the top scripted broadcasts. CBS could also claim the week's top nine dramas.
NBC, in second place for the week, averaged 7.7 million viewers, while ABC had 4.6 million, Fox had 2.9 million, Univision had 1.8 million, Telemundo had 1.5 million, ION Television had 1.4 million, and the CW had 1.1 million.
ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.7 million viewers in prime time. ABC Family had 2.3 million viewers, Fox News Channel had 2 million, Discovery had 1.98 million and the Hallmark Channel had 1.94 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8.8 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 8.4 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 7.4 million viewers.
For the week of Dec. 14-20, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: Nevada GOP Debate, CNN, 18.17 million; NFL Football: Arizona at Philadelphia, NBC, 18.11 million; "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 17.23 million; "NCIS," CBS, 15.53 million; Nevada GOP Debate (Introduction), CNN, 15.38 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 14.03 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 13.44 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 12.70 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 12.69 million; "NCIS: New Orleans," CBS, 12.09 million.
ABC and ESPN are 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 owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. CNN is owned by Time Warner.