NEW YORK (AP) — The new television season hasn't begun yet, but the football season has, and it's carrying the networks in the interim.
Four NFL games finished among the Nielsen company's top 12 shows last week, led by the Sunday night matchup of Philadelphia against Atlanta.
ABC devoted its entire prime-time lineup to the third Democratic presidential debate last Thursday, reaching a healthy audience of just under 13 million viewers, Nielsen said.
Between football and "America's Got Talent," NBC won the network ratings race. The network averaged 5.7 million viewers in prime time. ABC was second with 4.5 million, CBS had 3.9 million, Fox had 3.1 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Univision had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 570,000.
Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.42 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 1.89 million, MSNBC had 1.71 million, Hallmark had 1.38 million and HGTV had 1.32 million. HGTV's heavily-promoted home renovation show with actors from "The Brady Bunch" reached 3.37 million for its premiere.
ABC's "World News Tonight" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.9 million viewers. The "NBC Nightly News" had 7.6 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 5 million.
For the week of Sept. 9-15, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Philadelphia at Atlanta, NBC, 17.64 million; "NFL Post-Game," Fox, 15.02 million; NFL Football: Houston at New Orleans, ESPN, 13.53 million; "Democratic Presidential Debate," ABC, 12.95 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 12.91 million; "The OT," Fox, 11.09 million; NFL Football: Denver at Oakland, ESPN, 10.95 million; "America's Got Talent" (Tuesday), NBC, 9.48 million; "Football Night in America, Part 3," NBC, 9.4 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 8.46 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 Fox. Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.