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ABC Wins May Sweep in Adults 18-49 For First Time in 14 Years

ABC may have finished the season in fourth place in adults 18-49, but it closed strong — winning the May sweep in primetime’s key demo for the first time since “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” was at its peak.

The Alphabet won all four Fridays and Sundays in the month, paced by “Shark Tank” and “Once Upon a Time,” respectively (pictured). Overall, ABC claimed seven of the top 20 broadcast series in adults 18-49: “Modern Family,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “Once Upon a Time,” Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD,” “Resurrection” and “The Bachelorette” (which aired only once).

The network’s hottest series this season, “Scandal,” had its series order reduced to 18 episodes due to the pregnancy of star Kerry Washington, and wrapped the week before the start of the sweep.

In live plus same-day Nielsen estimates for April 24-May 21, the Alphabet network led in adults 18-49 with a 1.7 rating/5 share, followed by CBS and NBC (both at 1.5/5), Fox (1.3/4) and CW (0.5/2). ABC and CBS tied for the lead in adults 25-54 (2.2/6), and the Eye won easily in total viewers (8.2 million to 6.9 million for runner-up ABC).

This is the first time ABC, which closed out the season with five straight winning weeks, has won a May sweep in 18-49 since 2000 — a month dominated by Regis Philbin-hosted quizshow “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” including its first celebrity editions.

ABC closed the May sweep and 2013-14 television season on Wednesday with the night’s No. 1 show in key demos, “Modern Family.” It finished as the season’s No. 2 scripted series, behind only comedy CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (see rankings below).

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was primetime’s most-watched program for a third straight season; no primetime sports series had finished on top before “SNF.” It played a key role in helping the Peacock win the season in adults 18-49 for the first time in 10 years.

 

SEASON PROGRAM AVERAGES*
(Most current: Sept. 23, 2013-May. 21, 2014)

Adults 18-49
1.  Sunday Night Football (NBC), 7.9/20
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 6.2/20
3.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 4.6/13
4.  Modern Family (ABC), 4.4/13
4.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 4.4/12
6.  How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 4.3/13
6.  The Blacklist (NBC), 4.3/12
8.  Scandal (ABC), 4.2/13
8.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 4.2/12
10.  Resurrection (ABC), 3.8/10

Total Viewers
1.  Sunday Night Football (NBC), 21.5 million
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 20.0 million
3.  NCIS (CBS), 19.8 million
4.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 16.0 million
5.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 15.2 million
6.  The Blacklist (NBC), 15.0 million
7.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 14.7 million
8.  Person of Interest (CBS), 14.0 million
9.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 13.9 million
10.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 13.6 million

*Includes repeats of most scripted series

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