CBS Dominates the Weekly Ratings By Season’s Largest Margin

'NCIS,' 'Big Bang Theory' top 20 million viewers; NFL playoff action a big help on the weekend

Big Bang Theory

It all came together last week for CBS, which used season highs for a handful of series and NFL playoff action over the weekend to deliver the highest primetime averages and most lopsided victory for any network since last year’s Super Bowl.

NBC’s telecast of the “Golden Globe Awards” on Sunday was the week’s biggest entertainment program, but CBS had a pair of shows — “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory” — top the 20 million-viewer mark, while “Hawaii Five-0” and “Blue Bloods” hit some season highs on Friday and continue to mesh well. There was also the “People’s Choice Awards” boosting Wednesday, and rookie comedies “The Millers” and “The Crazy Ones” had their best demo perfs since October.

CBS claimed seven of the week’s top 10 series in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen, while in total viewers — in what has to be close to some kind of record — the net had the week’s 13 most-watched series.

Of course, the NFL is the ratings king these days, and airing both a primetime game on Saturday (Colts-Patriots) and a Sunday game that bled an hour into primetime (Chargers-Broncos) certainly padded the CBS averages for the week.

Saturday’s game averaged a 10.2/30 in adults 18-49 and 31.69 million total viewers to easily rank as the week’s No. 1 program, though it wasn’t the top show overall. That honor went to the Sunday game on CBS between San Diego and Denver (13.3/39 in 18-49, 41.21 million) — the second most-watched Sunday AFC Divisional Playoff game in 26 years.

Overall for the week of Jan. 6-12, CBS led in adults 18-49 with a 3.8 rating/10 share — well ahead of NBC (2.0/6),  ABC and ESPN (both 1.4/4) and Fox (1.3/4). In adults 25-54, the Eye doubled up runner-up NBC (4.8 to 2.4).

And in total viewers, thanks in part to the largest-ever audience for a regular-timeslot episode of “The Big Bang Theory” (20.35 million), CBS averaged 15.2 million — nearly as many as the combined audiences of NBC (7.2 million), ABC (5.2 million) and Fox (3.7 million).

“NCIS” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 20.84m) helped funnel a lot of viewers into a preview episode of new drama “Intelligence” on Tuesday (2.4/6, 16.49m), which won its time period in demos and became the most-watched series launch of the season. (It took a tumble, though, as it moved to its regular night on Monday of this week, doing a 1.2 demo rating and 6.2 million total viewers.)

Friday is clicking with the drama pairing of “Hawaii Five-0” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 10.74 million viewers overall) and “Blue Bloods” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 12.68m), with the former matching its season high in 18-49 and setting a high in total viewers, and the latter achieving its season-best adults 25-54 rating (2.5/6) and attracting its largest overall audience. The Tom Selleck show about a family of cops is averaging 14.11 million viewers this season, up 7% from last year to become the most-watched Friday program on any network since the 2002-03 season (14.92 million for NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU”).

Elsewhere, it was a hit-and-miss week for new shows on other networks, as the premieres of “Killer Women” on ABC and “Enlisted” on Fox joined the second week of ABC’s “The Assets” in attracting mere 2 shares of the adults 18-49 audience. “Assets” was canceled after its second episode dipped to a 0.6 demo rating — the lowest ever for an in-season first-run broadcast drama.

On the other hand, like “Intelligence,” NBC saw a solid premiere for Wednesday cop drama “Chicago P.D.” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 8.59m), which virtually matched its “Law & Order: SVU” lead-in (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.81m); it didn’t face either of its timeslot drama rivals, though, something it will this week.

Also of note for the week, NBC’s “Chicago Fire” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 6.87m), airing without a “The Voice” lead-in for the first time this season, tied for its timeslot’s lead in 18-49, and “Revolution” matched its top demo score since early October (1.5/5) as it returned to the lineup.

Closing out the week, the “71st Annual Golden Globe Awards” matched a 10-year high in adults 18-49 (6.5/16) while drawing its largest overall audience (20.87 million) since 2004.

ABC was paced by “Modern Family” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 9.51m) and the season premiere of “The Bachelor” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 8.65m), which shot up from last year. The net also had a good Friday with “Last Man Standing” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 7.18m), which drew its largest audience of the season, as well as “Shark Tank” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 7.36m) and “20/20” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.73m); the reality show matched its high in 18-49, and the newsmag set or matched season highs in 18-49 and 25-54 (2.3/6).

ESPN’s telecast of Monday’s BCS Championship Game in college football between Florida State and Auburn ranked No. 2 among all primetime programs for the week in 18-49 (8.7 rating) and total viewers (25.57 million).

Among the highlights for entertainment programs on cable were a strong premiere for BET’s “Being Mary Jane” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.32m), the net’s first scripted original series. It was cable’s No. 2 scripted program of the week in 18-49, behind FX’s “American Horror Story” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 3.49m).

OWN’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” hit series highs as it kicked off its second season (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.78m), gaining about 1 million viewers from its launch last May. FX’s “Justified” was down a bit in kicking off its season (1.1/4 in 18-49, 2.84m), but topped ABC’s “Killer Women” in 18-49.

Reality standouts included Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.19n), VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 2.89m) and Discovery’s “Gold Rush” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.90m). “Gold Rush” was No. 2 for all of television on Friday night in key male demos (behind “Shark Tank”).


Adults 18-49 (rating/share)

CBS             3.8/10
NBC            2.0/8
ABC             1.4/4
Fox              1.3/4
UNI             1.1/3
TEL             0.6/2
CW              0.3/1

Total Viewers

CBS           15.19 million
NBC            7.18 million
ABC            5.16 million
Fox             3.67 million
UNI            2.96 million
TEL            1.37 million
CW             0.82 million

(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.   NFL Divisional Playoff: Indianapolis-New England (CBS), 10.2/30
2.  BCS Championship: Auburn-Florida State (ESPN), 8.7/22
3.  71st Annual Golden Globes (NBC), 6.5/16
4.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 5.7/17
5.  60 Minutes (CBS), 4.0/10
6.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.5/10
7.  The Millers (CBS), 3.3/10
8.  NCIS (CBS), 3.0/8
9.  The Bachelor (ABC), 2.7/7
9.  Family Guy (Fox), 2.7/6
11.  People’s Choice Awards (CBS), 2.4/7
11.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 2.4/7
11.  The Crazy Ones (CBS), 2.4/7
11.  Intelligence (CBS), 2.4/6
15.  American Dad (Fox), 2.3/5
16.  The Middle (ABC), 2.2/7
16.  Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC), 2.2/6
16.  The Simpsons (Fox), 2.2/6
19.  Law & Order: SVU (NBC), 2.1/6
19.  Shark Tank (ABC), 2.1/6

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.   NFL Divisional Playoff: Indianapolis-New England (CBS), 31.69
2.  BCS Championship: Auburn-Florida State (ESPN), 25.57
3.  71st Annual Golden Globes (NBC), 20.87
4.  NCIS (CBS), 20.84
5.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 20.34
6.  60 Minutes (CBS), 17.06
7.  Intelligence-Tuesday (CBS), 16.48
8.  The Millers (CBS), 13.39
9.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 12.68
10.  Person of Interest (CBS), 12.10
11.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 10.74
12.  People’s Choice Awards (CBS), 10.36
13.  Elementary (CBS), 9.97
14.  The Good Wife (CBS), 9.85
15.  The Mentalist (CBS), 9.58
15.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 9.58
17.  The Crazy Ones (CBS), 9.52
18.  Modern Family (ABC), 9.51
19.  Castle (ABC), 8.83
20.  The Middle (ABC), 8.82