By Ryan Faughnder
12:16 PM EDT, September 6, 2013
Pro football is back, and Thursday night's kickoff game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens scored a big victory for NBC.
According to early numbers from Nielsen, the game drew a rating of 10 in prime time among advertiser-desired 18-49-year-olds. That's an increase of about 15% from preliminary ratings for last year's first game on NBC.
That contest on Sept 5, 2012, between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants scored a rating of 8.7 in the early numbers and had some serious competition: Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention.
During the 8:30-11 p.m. time period, the telecast drew more than 24.8 million viewers. NBC's average viewership for the night easily beat the other networks, with 23.2 million people tuning in.
The early nationwide numbers from Nielsen are not adjusted for time zones and typically underestimate NFL telecasts. More reliable national ratings won't be released until Friday afternoon.
In metered markets, which are time zone-adjusted, NBC drew a rating of 14.9 from 8 to 11 p.m.
The game, in which the Broncos won 49-27, was delayed because of weather. NBC's coverage of the contest, which ran from 9:15 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., generated a rating of 16.2 in metered-market households.
On CBS, "Big Brother" surged 40% in total viewership to 7.07 million compared with last week. Its rating among 18-49-year-olds increased 33% to a 2.4 for the live elimination in which two contestants were sent home.
ABC's cop show "Rookie Blue" increased its key demographic rating by 11% to a 1.0.
Fox was showing all reruns.
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