With just a few days remaining in the traditional September to May TV season, NBC has claimed the number one spot in the key adults 18-49 demographic, while CBS is once again top in total viewers.
NBC is poised to finish the season with a 2.2 rating in the key demo, according to most current numbers available through 34 weeks of the season (Live+7 for all but the last two weeks of the season). The network had the advantage of airing both the Super Bowl, which will rank as the most-watched program of 2018, and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in the same year. NBC also aired top-rated shows like “This Is Us,” the top-rated drama on broadcast, the perennial powerhouse “Sunday Night Football,” and hit alternative series “The Voice.”
NBC was also up from the 2.1 rating they averaged last season, in which they were also number one in the key demo. CBS, ABC, and Fox all tied for second in the demo with a 1.5. CBS was down approximately 16% year over year from a 1.9. Fox is officially down 21%, though the broadcaster was boosted by the Super Bowl last year. When removing sports coverage, Fox is down approximately 6%.
ABC is down just 7%, but that network’s case is unique this year. ABC was on track to finish in fourth place in the demo, but with the sudden ratings boom provided by “Roseanne” in the spring, ABC shot up into its current second place tie with the other three. This marks ABC’s most competitive season in 10 years, since the 2007-08 season when it also tied for number two in the demo.
The CW has averaged a 0.6 this season, down from a 0.7 last year.
CBS is number one in total viewers for the 10th consecutive season, as well as 15 of the past 16 seasons. The broadcaster has averaged 9 million viewers up to this point, narrowly topping NBC’s 8.9 million. NBC had a sizable viewership lead over CBS following the Super Bowl, but the latter network slowly chipped away at that lead in the intervening weeks. CBS also has 15 of the top 30 most-watched broadcast series, with 14 series that are averaging 10 million+ viewers a week, more than any other network.
CBS was down approximately 6% in total viewers versus their 9.6 million average last year. NBC was up approximately 9% versus their 8.1 million average last year. ABC finished third this season with 6.1 million, down only slightly from last year’s 6.2 million. Fox was fourth with 4.9 million, down approximately 16% from 5.8 million. The CW averaged 1.7 million viewers this season, also down only slightly from 1.8 million.
“Sunday Night Football” was again the top-rated program of the season with a 6.2 rating average. Interestingly though, fellow NFL broadcasts “Thursday Night Football” on CBS and NBC were not the number two and three programs as they were last year. Instead, they fell to fourth and six respectively, behind “Roseanne” and “This Is Us.” “This Is Us” was second place this year with a 5.2, while “Roseanne” was third with a 5.0. One could argue that “Roseanne” was the top new program of the season, but it was after all a revival featuring largely the same cast, settings, and premise. ABC’s “The Good Doctor” is therefore the top freshman show of the season, averaging an impressive 3.4. CBS freshman show “Young Sheldon” finished right behind “The Good Doctor” with a 3.3. Fox’s new hit procedural “9-1-1” also performed well for its freshman season with a 3.0 average. Fox also had four of the season’s top 10 new series, namely “9-1-1,” “The Orville,” “The Gifted,” and “The Resident.”
Here’s a full list of the network averages and the top 50 programs:
Adult 18-49 Rating
|Rank||Show Name||Net||Adults 18-49 Rating||Total Viewers (in millions)|
|1||NBC NFL SUNDAY NT FOOTBALL||NBC||6.2||18285|
|2||THIS IS US||NBC||5.4||17438|
|4||CBS+NFLN THU NT FOOTBALL||CBS||4.5||13583|
|5||BIG BANG THEORY||CBS||4.4||18634|
|6||NBC+NFLN THU NT FOOTBALL||NBC||4.0||13583|
|11||WILL & GRACE||NBC||2.8||8855|
|16||ELLEN’S GAME OF GAMES||NBC||2.3||9195|
|20||LAW & ORDER:SVU||NBC||2.1||8575|
|HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER||ABC||2.0||6424|
|SPLITTING UP TOGETHER||ABC||1.8||5758|
|37||LAW & ORDER:TRUE CRIME||NBC||1.7||6728|
|SATURDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL||ABC||1.7||5764|
|KEVIN CAN WAIT||CBS||1.6||7657|