As long anticipated, NBC claimed victory Thursday for the official 1996-’97 primetime broadcast TV season, winning the Nielsen household count as well as all the key 18-49 and 25-54 demo groups.
But the numbers were not without their share of controversy, as both ABC and Fox claimed second place for the season in adults 18-49. Fox’s numbers were based on “common time” (head-to-head) figures, and it claimed that based on those ratings, it beat ABC, 5.4/15 to 5.2/15 for 18-49.
Fox also maintained Thursday that it had tied ABC in total primetime for the 18-49 demo. However, the figures had ABC out front, if barely, 5.5/15 to 5.4/15. NBC led the pack at 6.7/18. CBS trailed at 4.3/12.
Fox was, however, the only network to post growth among all key demo groups over the past season.