NBC had its best Saturday night on record, and the best Saturday night for any network in nearly seventeen years, on the strength of the Jets/Colts AFC Wild Card game.
The Jets’ win over the Colts earned an 18.7 final rating and 33.4 million viewers on NBC Saturday night, up 4% in ratings and viewership from last year (PHI/DAL: 18.0, 32.124 mil), and up 16% and 20%, respectively, from 2009 (IND/SD: 16.1, 27.792 mil).
Jets/Colts ranks as the highest rated late Saturday Wild Card window since the 1998-99 season (ARI/DAL: 21.2, ABC), and the most-viewed since the 1994-95 season (KC/MIA: 33.6 mil, ABC).
Additionally, this marks the most-viewed Saturday night Wild Card game ever (dates back to 2002).
Even with the strong numbers, Jets/Colts finished behind Packers/Eagles on FOX, which earned a 22.1 and 39.3 million viewers in the late Sunday timeslot.
Fueled by the NFL, NBC averaged 33 million viewers in primetime Saturday night (8-11 PM), the network’s largest Saturday primetime audience on record (dates back to 1987). The previous record was 32.7 million, set in February ’88.
NBC earned the largest primetime Saturday audience on any network since the 1994 Winter Olympics on CBS (38.1 mil).
Overall, NFL Wild Card Saturday averaged a 17.7 rating and 30.6 million viewers on NBC, up 7% in ratings and viewership from last year (16.6, 28.6 mil), and the most-viewed Wild Card Saturday doubleheader ever.
(NBC press release from TV By The Numbers)