- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - CBS’s new Thursday night NFL package drew big audiences despite a string of blowouts.

The Broncos’ 35-21 win over the Chargers on Thursday was the last of seven straight games to air on CBS, with simulcasts on NFL Network. The broadcasts now switch to NFL Network only.

Five of the matchups were decided by at least two touchdowns, including three by more than 30 points.

The seven games still averaged 16.5 million viewers between CBS and NFL Network, the networks said Friday, nearly double the 8.5 million for last year’s games that aired on NFL Network with simulcasts on local channels in each team’s home market.

CBS is available in nearly 60 percent more households than NFL Network. CBS and NFL Network sold advertising based on the combined audiences of the two channels.

The viewership numbers showed why CBS wanted the package so badly even though it already had the networks’ highest-rated Thursday prime-time lineup. For the demographic of viewers ages 18-49 coveted by advertisers, the average rating for “Thursday Night Football” was up 126 percent compared with that night’s programming on CBS last year.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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