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

Thursday evening was a busy one as primetime offerings ranged from the usual sitcoms on CBS and dramas on CW to live musical performances on NBC, football on Fox and a dramatic tell-all on ABC. Of  the varied primetime offerings, however, Fox’s coverage of Thursday Night Football’s Dallas Cowboys-New Orleans Saints game took the spotlight.

The latest football showdown (2.9, 11.27M) saw the Cowboys win with a 10-point lead and earn top numbers in both 18-49 demo rating and viewership, per fast affiliates. While TNF typically dominates Thursday, competition was stiffer than usual with NBC’s Annie Live! going head-to-head with its three-hour slot.

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. The latest show pales in comparison to NBC’s first live holiday musical in Dec. 5, 2013 – The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood (4.6, 18.24M in L+SD) which kicked off the network’s franchise. 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.

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Annie Live! scored the second-highest rating of the night and performed above NBC’s Thursday season average with original dramas, per NBC.

Scoring the second-highest viewership of the night was Young Sheldon on cBS (0.6, 6.41M), which also earned a higher demo rating and larger audience than ABC’s Alec Baldwin Unscripted special (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 Halnya Hutchins. Read more about the 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’s Ghosts (0.5, 5.29M) was stable heading into its finale next week.

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