NBC Stays on Top in Primetime as Summer Gets Underway

The Night Shift Ratings

New, returning series premiere to solid numbers for the Peacock

NBC, coming off its strongest season in years, is off to a good start this summer too, winning last week in key demos behind the return of “America’s Got Talent,” a solid premiere for drama “The Night Shift” and decent-for-summer numbers for new comedy “Undateable.”

“American Ninja Warrior” and “Last Comic Standing” also returned pretty well, while new drama “Crossbones” opened OK by Friday standards.

The top of the week’s program rankings, though, were dominated by HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and coverage of NBA conference finals on ESPN and TNT; basketball games accounted for five of the frame’s top seven programs in 18-49, according to Nielsen.

It was also a good week for Univision, which as it did at this time a year ago, moved up the rankings — placing second in adults 18-49 and first in adults 18-34.

Overall, NBC led the week of May 26-June 1 with a 1.3 rating/4 share, followed by ESPN (1.2/4), Univision and TNT (both 1.1/3) and ABC and Fox (both 1.0/3). NBC also won in adults 25-54, while CBS led in total viewers behind its repeats.

For the Peacock, it was a week sprinkled with positive performances from Monday through Friday, starting with the season premiere of “American Ninja Warrior” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.65 million viewers overall), which won head-to-head in 18-49 over ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and Fox’s “24.”

On Tuesday, “America’s Got Talent” (3.0/9, 12.00 million viewers overall) came within a tenth of last year’s “The Voice”-boosted premiere score in 18-49 while drawing its largest overall audience for an opener in three years. It was the week’s No. 1 ad-supported series in 18-49 while ruling as easily the most-watched program overall.

“Talent” led into medical drama “The Night Shift” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.67 million viewers overall, pictured), which opened pretty well — becoming NBC’s top summer drama premiere since “The Philanthropist” in 2009. And since that launch five years ago, CBS’ “Under the Dome” from last year is the only drama on any network to open in the summer with a larger total audience.

Thursday saw best-since-February scores for “Hollywood Game Night” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.25 million viewers overall), a good week-2 hold for “Last Comic Standing” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.66 million viewers overall) and a decent debut for comedy “Undateable,” which held steady with back-to-back originals at 9 (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.84 million viewers overall) and 9:30 (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.82 million viewers overall).

And the news division contributed, with Brian Williams’ interview with Edward Snowden winning its timeslot in demos on Wednesday (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.95 million viewers overall) and “Dateline” doing the same on Friday (1.3/5 in 18-49, 7.11 million viewers overall).

After “Dateline,” John Malkovich drama “Crossbones” opened to an OK 1.0/4 in 18-49 and 4.91 million viewers overall — better than the net had been doing of late with “Hannibal” in the timeslot.

At ABC, Tuesday’s alternative series “Extreme Weight Loss” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.02m) opened slightly better than last year, and “Celebrity Wife Swap,” which kicked off its season in April, hit season highs (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.86 million viewers overall). Monday’s “The Bachelorette” was on the low side (1.6/5 in 18-49, 6.03m) but was the top series in its timeslot.

It was a slow start on Saturday for the second season of “Bet on Your Baby” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 2.18 million viewers overall), and newcomer “Sing Your Face Off” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.73 million viewers overall) didn’t do any better with its two-hour series premiere. Wednesday drama “Motive” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.06 million viewers overall) remains a modest performer.

Fox returned reality series “MasterChef” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.26 million viewers overall) and “So You Think You Can Dance” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.33 million viewers overall) to OK numbers. The net’s Tuesday series “Riot” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.36 million viewers overall) and “I Want to Marry Harry” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.14 million viewers overall) remained low, though the former was actually up a tick from the previous week.

New drama “Gang Related” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.15 million viewers overall) gained a tenth in its second week on Thursday, leading out from the steady “Hell’s Kitchen” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 4.54 million viewers overall).

CBS had a quiet week, as it traditionally does at this time of the year. Its only firstrun entertainment series was Monday’s “Friends With Better Lives” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.31 million viewers overall), which was the net’s top program outside of its “Big Bang Theory”-fueled Thursday.

A repeat of “Big Bang” (2.0/8 in 18-49, 8.72 million viewers overall) was the week’s top scripted broadcast series.

In cable, ESPN’s coverage of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals peaked with Wednesday’s game (3.1/10 in 18-49, 7.31 million viewers overall), while TNT’s coverage of the Western Conference Finals was paced by Thursday’s game (2.8/9 in 18-49, 6.93 million viewers overall). For the series, the East final averaged 7.23 million viewers, down from last year’s 8.4 million for a 7-game series. And the West finals averaged 6.8 million, up from 4.9 million a year ago.

NBCSN, meanwhile, got in the week’s top 20 in 18-49 with its Game 7 of the NHL’s Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.14 million viewers overall), which became the most-watched non-Cup Final game in league history.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (3.9/12, 7.17m) hit a series high in 18-49 while drawing its second largest overall audience to date.

Among the top original entertainment telecasts on basic cable were VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 3.00 million viewers overall), Lifetime movie “Petals on the Wind” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.42 million viewers overall) and the season preem of OWN’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.11 million viewers overall). Also, TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” set series highs (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.79 million viewers overall).



Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
NBC             1.3/4
UNI              1.1/3
ABC              1.0/3
Fox              1.0/3
CBS             0.9/3
TEL             0.6/2
CW              0.3/1

Total Viewers
CBS            5.46 million
NBC            5.20 million
ABC            4.08 million
Fox              2.96 million
UNI             2.69 million
TEL             1.45 million
CW              1.00 million

(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.   Game of Thrones* (HBO), 3.9/12
2.  NBA East Finals-Wednesday (ESPN), 3.1/10
3.  America’s Got Talent (NBC), 3.0/9
4.  NBA East Finals-Monday (ESPN), 2.8/9
4.  NBA West Finals-Thursday (TNT), 2.8/9
6.  NBA East Finals-Friday (ESPN), 2.7/10
7.  NBA West Finals-Tuesday (TNT), 2.6/9
8.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 2.0/8
9.  Hell’s Kitchen (Fox), 1.6/6
9.  Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta (VH1), 1.6/6
9.  The Night Shift (NBC), 1.6/5
9.  The Bachelorette (ABC), 1.6/5
9.  So You Think You Can Dance (Fox), 1.6/5
9.  Last Comic Standing (NBC), 1.6/5
9.  American Ninja Warrior (NBC), 1.6/5
16.  Mom (Thursday)-r (CBS), 1.5/5
16.  Two and a Half Men-r (CBS), 1.5/5
16.  MasterChef (Fox), 1.5/5
16.  24: Live Another Day (Fox), 1.5/4
16.  NHL West Finals-Sunday (NBCSN), 1.5/4

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  America’s Got Talent (NBC), 12.00
2.  NCIS-r (CBS), 9.40
3.  The Big Bang Theory-r (CBS), 8.72
4.  60 Minutes (CBS), 8.22
5.  NBA West Final-Saturday (TNT), 8.15
6.  NCIS: Los Angeles-r (CBS), 7.88
7.  The Night Shift-p (NBC), 7.67
8.  NBA East Final-Wednesday (ESPN), 7.31
9.  Criminal Minds-r (CBS), 7.26
10.  Game of Thrones* (HBO), 7.17
11.  Dateline-Friday (NBC), 7.11
12.  NBA East Final-Monday (ESPN), 7.00
13.  NBA West Final-Thursday (TNT), 6.93
14.  NBA East Final-Friday (ESPN), 6.88
15.  NBA West Final-Tuesday (TNT), 6.42
16.  Mom (Thursday)-r (CBS), 6.33
17.  CSI-r (CBS), 6.27
18. Blue Bloods-r (CBS), 6.18
19.  Two and a Half Men-r (CBS), 6.17
20.  The Bachelorette (ABC), 6.03

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