Thursday TV Ratings: NFL Season Starter Down But Still Shows Some Bite

Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs
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Viewers were definitely ready for some football on Thursday’s prime time broadcast TV schedule with Super Bowl champs Kansas City Chiefs dominating the Houston Texans 34-20 in the kick off of the 2020-21 season. With the coronavirus still very much a threat this fall, fans may have been happy to see the game on their TVs but, when comparing to last year’s start, the numbers have dropped considerably.

In looking at the overnight ratings (adjusted numbers will come later today), there was a 16.1% slip from the September 5, 2019 game, which makes it a 10-year low for the NFL and NBC. In that game, the 100th season opener, NBC brought in 22 million total viewers with a 12.8 rating while Thursday’s game brought in 17.1 million viewers and a 5.5 rating in the key demo. All that said, the game was still the number one program of the night with CBS’s Big Brother: All Stars  coming in behind the game (and the 8pm kick-off show) with a 1.0 rating and 3.9 million viewers.

Here’s the breakdown for Thursday, September 9, 2020 (numbers are fast-affiliate based):

Time Show Adults 18-49 Rating Total Viewers (millions)
8 p.m. NFL Football Kickoff: Houston at Kansas (NBC) 4.1 14.0
Big Brother (CBS) 1.0 3.9
Holey Moley (ABC) 0.4 2.9
Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back – R  (Fox) 0.3 1.2
Mysteries Decoded (CW)  0.1 821,000
8:30 p.m. NFL Football: Houston at Kansas 5.5 17.1
9:00 p.m. Love Island  (CBS) 0.4 1.7
Holey Moley (ABC) 0.3 1.7
Last Man Standing – R (Fox) 0.2 1.0
Penn & Teller: Fool Us – R (CW) 0.1 682,000
9:30 p.m. Last Man Standing – R (Fox) 0.2 1.2
10 p.m. Bull – R (CBS) 0.3 1.9
Shark Attack: The Paige Winter Story with Robin Roberts (ABC) 0.3 1.7