Year one of ESPN's New Years Eve College Football Playoff experiment didn't work, as numbers for the CFP semifinal games were significantly down year-over-year. The fact that both games were blowouts probably didn't help either.
- Michigan State and Alabama (CFP semifinal #2 - Cotton Bowl) faced off in primetime, with Alabama earning a 38-0 victory. The night's #1 program hauled in a 5.5 rating in 18-49 and almost 18.6 million viewers overall.
- The previous primetime CFP semifinal game (Ohio State over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl) averaged an 8.9 in adults 18-49 and 28.3 million viewers overall. That's a 38% decline in adults 18-49, and -34% in total viewers.
- The second-most-watched and second-highest-rated New Year's Eve telecast (not including the studio shows) was CFP semifinal #1: Clemson over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
- This late-afternoon game on ESPN averaged a 4.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 15.6 million viewers overall.
- The above figures are down from the previous CFP semifinal game, which featured an Oregon win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl game. That late-afternoon telecast scored an 8.3 in adults 18-49 and 28.2 million viewers overall. That's a 43% decline in adults 18-49 and a 45% decline in total viewers.
Will this year's CFP Championship game match last year's record-setting ratings performance? We will find out for sure next week. The game airs January 11th on ESPN and in primetime.
Not all was lost for Disney on New Year's Eve. The numbers for New Year's Rockin Eve were steady year-over-year: 2.3 in adults 18-49 / 8.1 million total viewers from 8 - 10 p.m. / 3.9 in adults 18-49 and 13 million viewers overall from 10 p.m. - midnight.
NBC's New Year's Eve-themed programming didn't perform quite as well. Numbers for New Year's Eve Game Night with Andy Cohen were poor, down from the comparable program in 2014 (hosted by Carson Daly).
- The Andy Cohen-hosted program hauled a 1.0 in adults 18-49 and 3.7 million total viewers at 10 p.m ET.
- The Carson Daly-hosted program averaged a 1.5 in 18-49 and 5.4 million total viewers at 10 p.m. ET.
Interestingly, the network's 8 p.m. NYE program (Toast to 2014) held steady year-over-year: 1.0 in adults 18-49 / 4.8 million viewers overall.
Though numbers for the Pitbull-hosted New Year's Eve festivities on Fox were low compared to those for ABC and NBC, they were actually up year-over-year.
Univision's New Year's Eve program (Feliz 2016) was down year-over-year, though decline wasn't alarmingly steep.
Syfy's WWE Smackdown was the top cable entertainment original of the night. The program averaged a 0.5 in the demo and almost 1.7 million total viewers.
(Sorted by Adults 18-49, Live + Same Day Data)
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