‘TNF’s Cowboys-Saints Game Snags Spotlight From ‘Annie Live!’ And Alec Baldwin Special, Leads Thursday

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Thursday was a busy one as broadcast primetime offerings ranged from the usual sitcoms on CBS and dramas on CW to Annie Live! on NBC, football on Fox and Alec Baldwin’s dramatic Rust tell-all on ABC. Of the offerings, however, Fox’s coverage of Thursday Night Football‘s Dallas Cowboys-New Orleans Saints game took the spotlight.

The latest showdown (2.9 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, 11.27 million viewes) saw the Cowboys win 27-17 and earn top numbers in both the demo and viewership, per Nielsen fast affiliates. While TNF typically dominates Thursday, competition was stiffer than usual with Annie Live! going head-to-head across the three hours.

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The live musical performance (0.9, 5.16M) featured Celina Smith in the titular role, Taraji P. Hensen, Nicole Scherzinger, Harry Connick Jr., Titus Burgess and more. Annie Live! marked the lowest Live+Same Day results for an NBC musical; NBC’s first live holiday musical on December 5, 2013 – The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood — scored a 4.6 rating and 18.24 million viewers in L+SD.

TV ratings have mostly declined amid a a dip in live viewing and migration to streaming, a trend that has only been accelerated by the pandemic.

Annie Live! did score the night’s second-highest rating and performed above NBC’s Thursday season average with original dramas, NBC said..

Scoring the second-highest viewership of the night was CBS’ Young Sheldon (0.6, 6.41M), which also earned a higher demo rating and larger audience than ABC News’ special Alec Baldwin Unscripted (0.4, 4.13M)

Baldwin sat down with George Stephanopoulos and opened up about the chain of events on the set of Rust that led to death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Read more about that interview here.

Beyond the specials and sports, the CW saw its night peak with a new installment of Walker (0.1, 0.93M). After Young Sheldon, CBS’ Ghosts (0.5, 5.29M) was steady heading into its finale next week.


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