Reruns and sports were last week's most-watched gifts to TV viewers from the networks

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Football and reruns prevailed on television Christmas week, according to the Nielsen ratings company.

NBC’s Sunday night clash between the New York Giants and the Minnesota Vikings claimed the lead with almost 18 million viewers.

But CBS was not to be outdone with its slate of encore dramas and comedies (a trio of repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” made it into the Top 20), along with such popular holiday fare as an Andy Griffith special and a colorized hour of classic “I Love Lucy.” For the week, CBS led in prime time with an average 5.7 million viewers.

Not so successful: ABC’s four-episode block of “Muppets” reruns on Sunday, the first of which drew a puny 1.9 million viewers, and the final half-hour attracting a Scrooge-like 955,000.

NBC, in second place for the week, averaged 5.3 million viewers, while ABC had 3.6 million, Fox had 3.1 million, Univision had 1.7 million, Telemundo had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, and the CW had 1.1 million.

ESPN was by far the week’s leading cable network, averaging 3.37 million viewers in prime time. USA had 2.30 million, and ABC Family had 2.21 million viewers.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.3 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight” was second with 8.7 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.5 million viewers.

For the week of Dec. 21-27, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: New York Giants at Minnesota, NBC, 17.87 million; “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 14.22 million; “The OT,” Fox, 13.09 million; NFL Football: Detroit at New Orleans, ESPN, 10.90 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 10.80 million; “Football Night in America,” NBC, 10.67 million; “60 Minutes Presents,” CBS, 10.54 million; “The Big Bang Theory” (Monday, 8:30 p.m.), CBS, 8.52 million; “The Big Bang Theory” (Monday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 8.42 million; “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 8.20 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 21st Century Fox. NBC, USA and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.