urx unit loader TV ratings: NFL scores a huge opening on NBC Thursday
packers saints ratings0908 TV ratings: NFL scores a huge opening on NBC ThursdayFast 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.

]]>8 p.m. NBC: NFL pregame show (18 million viewers, 10.8/18 households)/NFL Kickoff – Packers/Saints (27.5 million, 16.1/26)
CBS: “The Big Bang Theory” rerun (6.4 million, 4.3/7)/”CBS Fall Preview” (5.85 million, 3.9/6)
ABC: “Wipeout” rerun (5.1 million, 3.1/5)
FOX: “Bones” rerun (3 million, 2.1/3)
The CW: “The Vampire Diaries” rerun (977,000, 0.6/1) 18-49 leader: NFL Kickoff (10.2) 9 p.m. NBC: NFL Kickoff (27.6 million, 16.1/25)
CBS: “Big Brother 13” (6.5 million, 4.1/6)
ABC: “Rookie Blue” (4.5 million, 3.0/5)
FOX: “Bones” rerun (3.5 million, 2.4/4)
The CW: “Plain Jane” rerun (694,000, 0.5/1) 18-49 leader: NFL Kickoff (10.7) 10 p.m. NBC: NFL Kickoff (23.1 million, 13.7/22)
ABC: “Rookie Blue” season finale (5 million, 3.4/6)
CBS: “The Mentalist” rerun (4.65 million, 3.1/5) 18-49 leader: NFL Kickoff (9.6)

Ratings information includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are preliminary and subject to change, especially in the case of live telecasts. Source: The Nielsen Company. More ratings at Zap2it: Daily, weekly and cable