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Thanks, Tom Brady! Ageless quarterback helps NBC in ratings

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NEW YORK (AP) — The ageless Tom Brady is due a thank you note from NBC.

The Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback helped the network to a smashing audience of 24.8 million viewers for the NFL kickoff game, where he took on and defeated the Dallas Cowboys. That's up from last year's season opener, which reached 19.3 million.

It was a less attractive matchup for the season debut of “Sunday Night Football,” where the Chicago Bears and L.A. Rams were seen by 17.6 million. That's down from the 2020 season debut of the Sunday night franchise, seen by 18.9 million.

Two prime-time football games led NBC to a weekly ratings win, as it averaged 7.8 million viewers. CBS had 3.5 million viewers in prime time, ABC had 3 million, Fox had 2.4 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Ion Television had 1.12 million and Telemundo had 1.06 million.

Fox News Channel led the cable networks in prime time, averaging 2.23 million viewers. ESPN had 1.89 million, HGTV had 1.07 million, MSNBC had 1.06 million and TLC had 910,000.

ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race, averaging 7.8 million viewers. NBC's “Nightly News” had 6.4 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.6 million.

For the week of Sept. 6-12, the 20 most popular programs in prime time, their networks and viewerships:

1. NFL Football: Dallas at Tampa Bay, NBC, 24.81 million.

2. NFL Football: Chicago at L.A. Rams," NBC, 17.64 million.

3. “NFL Pregame” (Thursday), NBC, 16.21 million.

4. “NFL Pregame” (Sunday), NBC, 12.81 million.

5. “NFL Kickoff,” NBC, 10.42 million.

6. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 9.98 million.

7. “Football Night in America, Part 3,” NBC, 9.97 million.

8. “America's Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 6.9 million.

9. “Football Night in America, Part 2,” NBC, 6.5 million.

10. “America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 5.95 million.

11. “The O.T.,” Fox, 5.78 million.

12. College Football: Washington at Michigan, ABC, 4.75 million.

13. “Big Brother” (Sunday), CBS, 4.223 million.

14. “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 4.218 million.

15. “America's Funniest Home Videos,” ABC, 4.07 million.

16. “Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 3.89 million.

17. “Big Brother” (Thursday), CBS, 3.86 million.

18. “FBI" (Thursday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 3.42 million.

19. “FBI” (Thursday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 3.37 million.

20. “20/20” (Friday, 9 p.m.), ABC, 3.34 million.

David Bauder, The Associated Press