Thursday Night Football gave CBS good ratings and a decent viewership. It finished the first half of the schedule as the second most-watched primetime NFL package behind NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
However, as good as those numbers were, analysts were hoping the ratings would be better. Due to five blowouts, the ratings were lower than projected. The seven games on CBS/NFL Network averaged a combined 10.3 rating (8.5 on CBS and 1.8 on NFL Network). CBS had projected the schedule would score a 12.0 rating. As a result, some advertisers would receive “make-good” ads or free ads on the NFL on CBS later in the season.
Even with the lower rating, Thursday Night Football’s average viewership on CBS at 13.7 million outpaced the 2013 average viewership of the network’s primetime lineup of sitcoms and dramas at 10.2 million.
Industry analysts have lowered CBS’ earnings estimates for the current fiscal year because TNF’s ratings weren’t as good as hoped.
But even with the lower-than-expected ratings, the same analysts remain bullish on CBS noting that the promotion from Thursday Night Football for its primetime lineup will help launch new shows to solid viewership.
In addition, with the second half of the Thursday Night Football package airing exclusively on NFL Network, CBS remains committed to the games. The network is producing all eight games of NFL Network’s share and Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson will continue to be assigned to the second half of the season.