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Ratings three-peat for 'Sunday Night Football'

Al Michaels

Al Michaels Credit: Al Michaels (Getty Images)

The fact this no longer qualifies as news is news itself: Until 2011-12, no sports program had ranked first in prime time ratings for a full TV season. Now NBC’s “Sunday Night Football’’ has done so three years in a row.

Better yet for the NFL (and NBC): The demographics show an enviably diverse audience, including young people and women represented in significant numbers.

According to Nielsen’s live-plus-same-day figures, SNF averaged 21.7 million viewers, far ahead of second-place “NCIS’’ at 16.9 million. (The gap is smaller using live-plus-seven-day data, where “Big Bang Theory’’ is second.)

The No. 1 non-prime time show: as usual, the late Sunday afternoon games on Fox and CBS.

It will be interesting to see how the new Thursday night package on CBS compares to all of the above this autumn.

Just for fun, the top-rated prime time shows over the decades:

2003-04: “American Idol"

1993-94: “60 Minutes"

1983-84: “Dallas"

1973-74: “All in the Family"

1963-64: “The Beverly Hillbillies"

1953-54: “I Love Lucy"

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