As the networks prepare for the start of the new TV season next week, NBC took another victory lap on Tuesday as it celebrated its first primetime victory in the 18-49 demo for a full television year in a decade.
The Peacock, which had won the September-May broadcast season in the demo, clinched its 52-week crown with a strong summer. Led by “America’s Got Talent,” the rising “American Ninja Warrior” and rookie scripted success “The Night Shift,” NBC won in adults 18-49 to make it four straight summers on top.
According to Nielsen estimates through Sunday (51 of 52 weeks in the full 2013-14 television season), NBC leads in adults 18-49 with a 2.4 rating — up 14% from the previous season. It is followed by Fox (2.1), CBS (2.0) and ABC (1.9).
NBC benefited from 18 nights of Winter Olympics coverage, but even with the Sochi Games removed from its average, it still finished ahead of Super Bowl-boosted Fox (2.2 to 2.1).
In total viewers, NBC averaged 8.27 million and was up by 25% over 2012-13 — the biggest year-over-year improvement delivered by any Big Four network in the last 25 years — to place second to CBS (9.27 million).
“As the business continues to see significant original programming launched throughout the calendar year, the 52-week statistics become more and more meaningful,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, in a statement. “And following a very strong September-to-May win, I’m pleased that NBC once again dominated the summer, leading us to win virtually all key demos in primetime and latenight for the full 2013-14 season.”
In addition to adults 18-49, NBC also leads the 52-week season in adults 25-54, adults 18-34 and most male/female breakdowns (Fox is on top in men 18-34).
NBC was the No. 1 network in regular-series programming for the full television year on three nights: Monday (“The Voice” and “The Blacklist”), Tuesday (“The Voice” and “Chicago Fire”) and Sunday (“Sunday Night Football”). It was also up year-over-year on every night except Thursday.
But it also was boosted by an especially strong year of specials, including a massive tune-in last December for “The Sound of Music Live!” (18.7 million same-night viewers and 21.8 million with a week’s worth of DVR playback included).
Other highlights included a 10-year high for the “Golden Globes” telecast (20.9 million same-night viewers); the second largest Primetime Emmy Awards audience in eight years (15.6 million); the biggest audience in at least 25 years for “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (25.2 million); and the biggest viewership in its nine-year history for “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly” (9.5 million).