The Big Four broadcast networks continue to deliver the vast majority of the most popular primetime series on television, but cable made more inroads among younger viewers in 2013.
Excluding sports, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox accounted for 48 of the top 50 primetime series of 2013 in total viewers, according to Nielsen data for original episodes and including DVR playback done within a week of its airing. (Only AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” cracked the list.)
Among adults 18-49, though, seven of the top 50 non-sports primetime series aired on basic or premium cable, including both “Walking Dead” (No. 1) and “Duck Dynasty” (No. 3). Also on the list: “Breaking Bad” (AMC) at No. 12, “Sons of Anarchy” (FX) at No. 20, “American Horror Story” (FX) at No. 28, “Game of Thrones” (HBO) at No. 30 and “True Blood” (HBO) at No. 39.
And if you lower the age bar even more to include only those between the ages of 12 and 34 — a group of people that grew up knowing nothing but a 100-plus channel universe — cable accounts for 15 of the top 50, up from 13 for calendar year 2012.