College football’s return boosts television ratings

Sep 8, 2021, 2:08 PM | Updated: 3:01 pm
Clemson tight end Braden Galloway is brought down by Georgie defenders during the second half of an...

Clemson tight end Braden Galloway is brought down by Georgie defenders during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

NEW YORK (AP) — Television viewers are ready for some football.

Three college matchups scored among the Nielsen company’s four most-watched television programs last week. Only an episode of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” broke through.

The most popular game was ABC’s Saturday night telecast where Georgia handed third-ranked Clemson a loss in Charlotte, North Carolina. The other popular matchups paired Notre Dame and Florida State and Ohio State and Minnesota.

It’s all a warmup act for pro football, which starts its season this week and promises to dominate live television viewing.

Since it showed two of the three games, ABC was the week’s most-watched network in prime time, with an average of 4.4 million viewers. CBS had 2.6 million, NBC had 2.53 million, Fox had 2.49 million, Univision had 1.5 million, Ion Television had 1.1 million and Telemundo had 1 million.

Fox News Channel led the cable networks, averaging 2.59 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.218 million, ESPN had 1.217 million, HGTV had 1.05 million and TLC had 921,000.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race with an average of 8.2 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 6.9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5 million.

For the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5, the 20 most-watched programs in prime time, their networks and viewerships:

1. College Football: Georgia vs. Clemson, ABC, 8.86 million.

2. College Football: Notre Dame vs. Florida State, ABC, 7.75 million.

3. “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 7.19 million.

4. College Football: Ohio State at Minnesota, Fox, 6.3 million.

5. “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 6.1 million.

6. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 5.91 million.

7. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Monday), Fox News, 4.31 million.

8. “Big Brother” (Thursday), CBS, 4.1 million.

9. “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 4.01 million.

10. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Tuesday), Fox News, 3.85 million.

11. “Hannity” (Monday), Fox News, 3.84 million.

12. “NCIS,” CBS, 3.83 million.

13. “College Football Pregame” (Sunday), ABC, 3.82 million.

14. “CMA Summer Jam,” ABC, 3.68 million.

15. “American Ninja Warrior,” NBC, 3.67 million.

16. “Hannity” (Tuesday), Fox News, 3.62 million.

17. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Wednesday), Fox News, 3.52 million.

18. “The $100,000 Pyramid,” ABC, 3.514 million.

19. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 3.505 million.

20. “Hannity” (Wednesday), Fox News, 3.393 million.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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College football’s return boosts television ratings