HOLLYWOOD (CNS) - The Sugar Bowl telecast ended “Sunday Night Football's'' nine-week streak as prime-time television's most-watched program and helped ESPN finish first in the weekly ratings race, according to live-plus-same-day figures released today by Nielsen.
Ohio State's 49-28 upset of Clemson in a College Football Playoff semifinal Friday averaged 18.854 million viewers, both the largest audience for a non-NFL sporting event and any cable program since LSU's 42-25 victory over Clemson in the College Football Playoff national championship averaged 25.583 million viewers on Jan. 13, 2020.
ESPN's telecast of the afternoon College Football Playoff semifinal, Alabama's 31-14 victory over Notre Dame in the relocated Rose Bowl, averaged 18.372 million viewers.
The Washington Football Team's 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on NBC's “Sunday Night Football'' averaged 16.547 million viewers, second among prime-time programs airing between Dec. 28 and Sunday.
Viewership was 9.9% less than the previous week's “Sunday Night Football'' game, a 40-14 victory by the Green Bay Packers over the Tennessee Titans that averaged 18.374 million viewers.
The combination of four nights of bowl telecasts and “Monday Night Football'' made ESPN the week's most-watched network, averaging 6.237 million viewers.
In a week the major broadcast networks limited their first-run entertainment programming to New Year's Eve and Sunday, NBC averaged 4.56 million viewers, ABC 4.13 million and CBS 4 million, all for 22 hours of programming.
CBS' average included a 45-minute runover of its afternoon NFL coverage into prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones that averaged 15.613 million viewers. The runover is not considered a separate program but is included in the weekly average.
Fox averaged 2.8 million viewers for its 15 hours of prime-time programming, which included a 24-minute runover of its afternoon NFL coverage that averaged 22.96 million viewers.
The week's most-watched non-sports program was the 10-11 p.m. segment of ABC's “Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021'' which averaged 11.231 million viewers, seventh for the week behind the Sugar Bowl, “Sunday Night Football,'' two studio shows preceding the Sugar Bowl, the ESPN-ABC “Monday Night Football'' simulcast and the nine-minute “Sunday Night Football'' pre-kickoff show.
The premiere of the Fox comedy “Call Me Kat'' averaged 5.625 million viewers, 15th for the week, fifth among non-sports programs and fourth among entertainment programs.
“Call Me Kat'' retained 60.1% of the audience of the program preceding it, the 32-minute NFL postgame show “The OT,'' which averaged 9.361 million viewers.
The premiere of the Fox animated comedy “Great North'' that followed “Call Me Kat'' averaged 2.339 million viewers, 69th for week and 42nd among entertainment programs. It was Fox's fourth most-watched entertainment program behind “Call Me Kat,'' the season premiere of “Last Man Standing'' and a rerun of “9-1-1.''
Fox News Channel was the second most-watched cable network behind ESPN for the second consecutive week, averaging 1.734 million viewers. CNN was third, averaging 1.622 million viewers.
The most-watched Spanish-language program was Univision's New Year's Eve special “Feliz 2021'' which averaged 1.909 million viewers, 64th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 57th consecutive week and 59th time in 60 weeks, averaging 1.21 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 960,000, followed by UniMas (440,000), Estrella TV (140,000) and Azteca America (60,000).
ABC's “World News Tonight with David Muir'' was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 57th consecutive week, the 108th time in 109 weeks and the 160th time in 162 weeks, averaging 9.746 million viewers for its Tuesday and Wednesday newscasts.
“NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt'' was second, averaging 8.665 million viewers for its Monday through Wednesday newscasts, followed by the “CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell,'' which averaged 6.3 million viewers for its Monday and Tuesday newscasts.
The week's 10 most-watched prime-time programs were ESPN's Sugar Bowl telecast; NBC's “Sunday Night Football''; ESPN's 16-minute studio show immediately preceding the Sugar Bowl; the ABC-ESPN “Monday Night Football'' simulcast; a seven-minute ESPN studio show preceding the 16-minute studio show; NBC's nine-minute “Sunday Night Football pre-kickoff show; the 10-11 p.m. segment of “Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021''; CBS' “60 Minutes''; the 18-minute third segment of NBC's “Football Night in America''; and the 14-minute “Monday Night Football'' kickoff show simulcast by ABC and ESPN.
Photo: Getty Images