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Comfort TV viewing gives ratings boost to football, dramas

LOS ANGELES — An unprecedented impeachment hearing failed to keep TV viewers from settling back into familiar, escapist habits last week.

NFL and college football and sturdy drama franchises including the “Chicago” shows on NBC and the “NCIS” group on CBS were among the week's ratings winners, according to Nielsen figures out Wednesday.

The second impeachment of now-former President Donald Trump drew viewers to news shows, but not in the numbers that tuned in the prior week to bear witness to rioting inside the U.S. Capitol and gave CNN get its biggest single-day audience ever.

CNN had last Wednesday's most-watched impeachment hearing coverage and again claimed the weekly lead among cable news channels.

CBS' news magazine “60 Minutes,” which included reports on the Capitol attack and security measures for President Joe Biden's inauguration, was the week's top non-sports broadcast despite competition from a NFL divisional playoff game.

That contest, between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints was the week's No. 1 program. It helped make Fox the most-watched network with an average 9.1 million viewers, followed by NBC with 6.4 million. CBS had 4.1 million, ABC had 3.5 million, Univision had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1 million and Ion Television had 940,000.

ESPN was the most-watched cable network in prime-time, averaging 3.2 million for the week. CNN had 3.1 million, MSNBC had 2.7 million and HGTV had 1.1 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening news ratings contest, averaging 10.3 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8.5 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.3 million.

For the week of Jan. 11-17, the 20 most-watched programs in prime time, their networks and viewership:

1. NFC Playoff: Tampa Bay at New Orleans, Fox, 35.5 million.

2. NFL Playoff: Baltimore at Buffalo, NBC, 26.2 million.

3. College football championship: Ohio State at Alabama, ESPN, 18.5 million.

4. NFL Pregame, NBC, 18.3 million.

5. NFC Postgame, Fox, 18 million.

6. College football pregame, ESPN, 12.8 million.

7. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 10.57 million.

8. “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” ABC. 7.8 million.

9. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 7.6 million.

10. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 7.3 million.

11. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 6.6 million.

12. “Great North,” Fox, 6.1 million.

13. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 5.6 million.

14. “Magnum P.I.,” CBS, 5.5 million.

15. “This Is Us,” NBC, 5.46 million.

16. “The Chase,” ABC, 5.45 million.

17. “NCIS,” CBS, 5.2 million.

18. “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 5.1 million.

19. “MacGyver,” CBS, 5 million.

20. “The Price is Right,” CBS, 4.9 million.

Lynn Elber, The Associated Press

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