TV ratings: NFL scores a huge opening on NBC Thursday

packers-saints-ratings0908.jpgFast National ratings for Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011

The NFL's slogan for the start of this season has been "back to football," and TV viewers got back to it in a very big way Thursday.

Metered-market ratings for the season-opening game between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints are down slightly from last year's kickoff, but the fast nationals are up. However you slice it, though, it's a great big audience.

NBC averaged 24.5 million viewers and a 14.4 rating/23 share in households in primetime, beating the combined total of the other four networks -- by a lot. CBS (5.8 million, 3.8/6) was the best of the rest, followed by ABC (4.9 million, 3.2/5). FOX drew 3.3 million viewers and a 2.3/4, and The CW trailed with 835,000 viewers and a 0.8/1.

NBC was similarly dominant in the adults 18-49 demographic, scoring a 9.5 rating. CBS finished a very distant second at 1.7. ABC averaged 1.2, FOX 0.9 and The CW 0.3.

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