Bills-Chiefs is most-watched TV program since Super Bowl

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) walks off the field after an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs won 42-36 in overtime. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

NEW YORK (AP) — The epic football playoff game between Buffalo and Kansas City reached nearly 43 million television viewers on Sunday, the most for any event since last year’s Super Bowl as the NFL struck gold with its rousing weekend.

The four games averaged 38.2 TV and digital viewers, up 20% over last year and the best ever for the league’s divisional round of playoffs, the Nielsen company said on Tuesday.

Each game saw a tie broken on the last play, meaning the audience swelled toward the end as they reached a climax. When the Bills-Chiefs game headed into overtime, there were 51.7 million people watching, Nielsen said.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Rams-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game averaged 40 million viewers, but after Tom Brady helped the Bucs back from a 27-3 deficit to a tie, the audience jumped to 49.2 million people.

In the fourth quarter, the Bills-Chiefs game had a 90 audience share in Kansas City — meaning 90% of televisions on at the time were tuned in to the game, Nielsen said. That’s an astonishing figure at a time of audience fragmentation. In Buffalo, the share was 86 at the same time.

Blessed with the weekend’s best game, and in the evening, CBS won the week, averaging 10.4 million viewers in prime time. Fox had 7.9 million, ABC had 4.1 million, NBC had 3.1 million, Univision had 1.5 million, Ion Television had 1.1 million and Telemundo had 940,000.

Fox News Channel led the cable networks with an average of 2.38 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 1.85 million, MSNBC had 1.15 million, HGTV had 1.13 million and Hallmark had 951,000.

Nielsen did not immediately post averages for the evening newscasts.

For the week of Jan. 17-23, the top 20 broadcasts in prime time, their networks and viewerships:

1. NFL Playoffs: Buffalo at Kansas City, CBS, 42.74 million.


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2. NFL Playoffs: San Francisco at Green Bay, Fox, 36.92 million.

3. “NFL Pregame,” Fox, 26.94 million.

4. “NFL Postgame,” CBS, 26.91 million.

5. NFL Playoffs: Arizona at L.A. Rams, ABC, 12.78 million.

6. “NCIS: Hawai’i,” CBS, 9.79 million.

7. NFL Playoffs: Arizona at L.A. Rams, ESPN, 8.83 million.

8. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 7.98 million.

9. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 7.45 million.

10. “NFL Pregame,” ABC, 7.41 million.

11. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 7.27 million.

12. “NCIS,” CBS, 7.26 million.

13. “Ghosts,” CBS, 6.68 million.

14. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.27 million.

15. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 5.79 million.

16. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 5.78 million.

17. “NFL Pregame,” ESPN, 5.74 million.

18. “”Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 5.49 million.

19. “United States of Al,” CBS, 5.44 million.

20. “Magnum, P.I.,” CBS, 5.43 million.

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