×

Top Rated Shows of 2019: Super Bowl LIII, ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ Dominate

CBS is sure going to miss “The Big Bang Theory.” The long-running sitcom, which ended in May after 12 seasons, was a ratings bazinga for the Eye network up until the very end. And in fitting with its popularity, the comedy’s May 16 finale, “The Change Constant”/”The Stockhom Syndrome,” was the highest-rated telecast of a scripted series on linear TV in 2019 — averaging nearly 25 million viewers. ” It was also the top-rated scripted broadcast telecast (and No. 1 comedy airing) of the year with adults 18-49, averaging a 5.0 rating.

The Big Bang Theory” ultimately landed 13 of the top 100 most-watched telecasts of the year, while spin-off “Young Sheldon” grabbed another 12 slots.

But it was ultimately another broadcast that cemented CBS’ status as the most-watched linear network of the year in total viewers: Super Bowl LIII. No surprise, the matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and eventual winner New England Patriots was the top telecast of the year, averaging 98.8 million viewers.

The game also provided a huge lead-in for CBS’ “World’s Best,” which received the plum post-Super Bowl slot this year, and averaged 23.5 million viewers in that premiere. The Eye was so high on the show that it got that tremendous placement — but it ultimately became a rare misstep for the otherwise on-fire James Corden. Reviews for “World’s Best” were dour, and once it moved to a regular timeslot, “World’s Best” fizzled out. The show’s finale averaged 3.6 million viewers, and was canceled.

Overall, football still dominates primetime viewing: The NFL and college football (via its championship game) took six of the top 10 slots among viewers, and 20 of the top 50.

Meanwhile, the Academy Awards reclaimed its position as the most-watched entertainment program of the year (at 30.5 million viewers), reclaiming that title after having been beat out last year by the post-Super Bowl episode of “This Is Us.”

Besides “World’s Best,” just one another new series landed a slot on the year’s top telecasts ranker: Fox’s “The Masked Singer.”

As for the adults 18-49 telecast ranker, it was HBO’s departing “Game of Thrones” that dominated. The show’s April 28 episode, “The Long Night,” was the top-rated regular scripted series telecast this year, with a 6.8 rating. All six episodes of the show’s final season made the lists of most-watched shows among total viewers and adults 18-49.

CBS dominated the total viewers list, even though it doesn’t air NFL football in primetime. Beyond special events like the Super Bowl, Grammys and NCAA Final Four, the Eye network benefited from “The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon” and “NCIS” — leading to 57 slots on the end-of-year list of top telecasts. NBC was next, with 15, followed by Fox (13), HBO (6), ABC (5) and ESPN (4).

Here’s our ratings roundup of the year’s most-watched telecasts (in Live+7 ratings), according to broadcast and cable measurements.

[For historical record, here are previous year-end telecast rankers: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015.]

MOST-WATCHED PRIMETIME TELECASTS OF 2019 (TOTAL VIEWERS)

Rank PROGRAM (NETWORK) VIEWERS (000) DATE AIRED
1. SUPER BOWL LIII: Patriots vs. Rams (CBS) 98,820 2/3/2019
2. AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Patriots vs. Chiefs (CBS) 54,399 1/20/2019
3. NFL PLAYOFFS: Rams vs. Cowboys (Fox) 33,651 1/12/2019
4. ACADEMY AWARDS (ABC) 30,541 2/24/2019
5. NFL PLAYOFFS: Cowboys vs. Seahawks (Fox) 29,690 1/5/2019
6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Clemson vs. Alabama (ESPN) 24,945 1/7/2019
7. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Change Constant”/The Stockholm Syndrome” (Series Finale) (CBS) 24,755 5/16/2019
8. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Saints vs. Cowboys (NBC) 24,373 9/29/2019
9. WORLD’S BEST (Post-Super Bowl) (CBS) 23,544 2/3/2019
10. WORLD SERIES GAME 7: Nationals vs. Astros (Fox) 23,309 10/30/2019
11. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Vikings vs. Cowboys (NBC) 23,261 11/10/2019
12. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Patriots vs. Steelers (NBC) 22,500 9/8/2019
13. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Packers vs. Bears (NBC) 22,386 9/5/2019
14. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Ravens vs. Patriots (NBC) 22,335 11/3/2019
15. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Cowboys vs. Eagles (NBC) 21,722 10/20/2019
16. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: 49ers vs. Packers (NBC) 21,083 11/24/2019
17. GRAMMY AWARDS (CBS) 21,024 2/10/2019
18. NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Virginia vs. Texas Tech (CBS) 19,864 4/8/2019
19. GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS (NBC) 19,212 1/6/2019
20. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Donation Oscillation” (CBS) 18,853 2/7/2019
21. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rams vs. Browns (NBC) 18,790 9/22/2019
22. NBA FINALS GAME 6: Raptors vs. Warriors (ABC) 18,699 6/13/2019
23. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Packers vs. Chiefs (NBC) 18,617 10/27/2019
24. NBA FINALS GAME 5: Warriors vs. Raptors (ABC) 18,578 6/10/2019
25. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Colts vs. Chiefs (NBC) 18,353 10/6/2019
26. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The D&D Vortex” (CBS) 18,234 2/21/2019
27. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Meteorite Manifestation” (CBS) 18,180 1/31/2019
28. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Eagles vs. Packers (Fox/NFL) 18,117 9/26/2019
29. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Propagation Proposition” (CBS) 18,012 1/10/2019
30. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Falcons vs. Eagles (NBC) 17,874 9/15/2019
31. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Confirmation Polarization” (CBS) 17,781 1/17/2019
32. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Conference Valuation” (CBS) 17,613 3/7/2019
33. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast” (CBS) 17,594 5/16/2019
34. NCIS, “She” (CBS) 17,562 2/12/2019
35. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Maternal Conclusion” (CBS) 17,504 5/9/2019
36. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Paintball Scattering” (CBS) 17,209 1/3/2019
37. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rams vs. Bears (NBC) 16,996 11/17/2019
38. NCIS, “Out of the Darkness” (CBS) 16,946 9/24/2019
39. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Plagiarism Schism” (CBS) 16,918 5/2/2019
40. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks vs. 49ers (ESPN) 16,885 11/11/2019
41. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Laureate Accumulation” (CBS) 16,669 4/4/2019
42. WORLD SERIES GAME 6: Nationals vs. Astros (Fox) 16,583 10/29/2019
43. NCIS, “Into the Light” (CBS) 16,548 10/1/2019
44. NCIS, “Once Upon a Tim” (CBS) 16,498 2/19/2019
45. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Patriots vs. Giants (Fox/NFL) 16,497 10/10/2019
46. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Decision Reverberation” (CBS) 16,452 4/25/2019
47. GAME OF THRONES, “The Long Night” (HBO) 16,124 4/28/2019
48. NCAA BASKETBALL FINAL FOUR: Texas Tech vs. Michigan State (CBS) 16,045 4/6/2019
49. GAME OF THRONES, “The Bells” (HBO) 16,029 5/12/2019
50. NCIS, “The Last Link” (CBS) 15,987 1/15/2019
51. NCIS, “Bears and Cubs” (CBS) 15,983 3/12/2019
52. NCIS, “Daughters” (CBS) 15,872 +10%
53. NCIS, “Toil and Trouble” (CBS) 15,857 1/8/2019
54. GAME OF THRONES, “The Iron Throne” (HBO) 15,845 5/19/2019
55. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Inspiration Deprivation” (CBS) 15,844 4/18/2019
56. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Math Emergency and Perky Palms” (CBS) 15,788 2/7/2019
57. NCIS, “Silent Service” (CBS) 15,767 3/26/2019
58. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Browns vs. Steelers (Fox/NFL Network) 15,699 11/14/2019
59. NCIS, “Hail & Farewell” (CBS) 15,641 4/16/2019
60. NCIS, “Mona Lisa” (CBS) 15,598 4/2/2019
61. NCIS. “Crossing the Line” (CBS) 15,560 2/26/2019
62. NCIS, “Lost Time” (CBS) 15,449 5/14/2019
63. NCIS, “Judge, Jury…” (CBS) 15,438 4/30/2019
64. NCIS, “… and Executioner” 15,412 5/7/2019
65. YOUNG SHELDON, “Albert Einstein and the Story of Another Mary” (CBS) 15,354 3/7/2019
66. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Tummy Ache and a Whale of a Metaphor” (CBS) 15,328 1/10/2019
67. NCIS, “Going Mobile” (CBS) 15,261 10/8/2019
68. NCIS, “Perennial” (CBS) 15,208 4/9/2019
69. NCIS, “No Vacancy” (CBS) 15,167 11/12/2019
70. GAME OF THRONES, “The Last of the Starks” (HBO) 15,159 5/5/2019
71. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Nuclear Reactor and a Boy Called Lovey” (CBS) 15,088 1/17/2019
72. NCIS, “Wide Awake” (CBS) 15,067 10/22/2019
73. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Steelers vs. Chargers (NBC) 15,046 10/13/2019
74. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Loaf of Bread and a Grand Old Flag” (CBS) 14,873 2/21/2019
75. GAME OF THRONES, “Winterfell” (HBO) 14,838 4/14/2019
76. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Cowboys vs. Giants (ESPN) 14,820 11/4/2019
77. NCIS, “IRL” (CBS) 14,789 11/26/2019
78. YOUNG SHELDON, “David, Goliath and a Yoo-Hoo From the Back” (CBS) 14,778 1/31/2019
79. NCIS, “Institutionalized” (CBS) 14,690 11/5/2019
80. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks vs. Rams (Fox/NFL Network) 14,647 10/3/2019
81. NCIS, “Musical Chairs” (CBS) 14,635 11/19/2019
82. NCIS, “Someone Else’s Shoes” (CBS) 14,512 10/15/2019
83. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Race of Superhumans and a Letter to Alf” (CBS) 14,471 1/3/2019
84. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: 49ers vs. Cardinals (Fox/NFL Network) 14,449 10/31/2019
85. OSCARS RED CARPET PREVIEW SHOW (ABC) 14,351 2/24/2019
86. THE MASKED SINGER, “Road to the Finals” (Fox) 14,215 2/27/2019
87. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs vs. Broncos (Fox/NFL Network) 14,134 10/17/2019
88. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Packers vs. Lions (ESPN) 14,106 10/14/2019
89. NBA FINALS GAME 2: Warriors vs. Raptors (ABC) 14,050 6/2/2019
90. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Proposal and a Popsicle Stick Cross” (CBS) 14,027 5/2/2019
91. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Political Campaign and a Candy Land Cheater” (CBS) 13,975 4/25/2019
92. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Raiders vs. Chargers (Fox/NFL Network) 13,974 11/7/2019
93. GAME OF THRONES, “A Night of the Seven Kingdoms” (HBO) 13,891 4/21/2019
94. A BIG BANG THEORY FAREWELL (Special) (CBS) 13,884 5/16/2019
95. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Vikings vs. Redskins (Fox/NFL Network) 13,877 10/24/2019
96. NCAA BASKETBALL FINAL FOUR (Post-Game) (CBS) 13,869 4/6/2019
97. BLUE BLOODS, “Ripple Effect” (CBS) 13,810 2/1/2019
98. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Perfect Score and a Bunsen Burner Marshmallow” (CBS) 13,790 4/4/2019
99. THIS IS US, “Songbird Road: Part 1” (NBC) 13,732 1/22/2019
100. YOUNG SHELDON, “A Broken Heart and a Crock Monster” (CBS) 13,728 5/9/2019
Source: Nielsen, 1/1/19 – 11/27/19 L7 Data. All Telecasts, Broadcast and Cable (excluding telecasts with durations under 25 min, including SB and NFC). Broadcast Prime, telecast with start times within daypart (M-Sat 8P-11P; Sun 6:30P-11P).

THE 50 TOP-RATED PRIMETIME TELECASTS OF 2019 (ADULTS 18-49)

Rank PROGRAM (NETWORK) RATING (18-49) DATE AIRED
1. SUPER BOWL LIII: Patriots vs. Rams (CBS) 31.23 2/3/2019
2. AFC CHAMPIONSHIP: Patriots vs. Chiefs (CBS) 16.42 1/20/2019
3. NFL PLAYOFFS: Rams vs. Cowboys (Fox) 10.43 1/12/2019
4. NFL PLAYOFFS: Cowboys vs. Seahawks (Fox) 8.97 1/5/2019
5. ACADEMY AWARDS (ABC) 7.89 2/24/2019
6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Clemson vs. Alabama (ESPN) 7.87 1/7/2019
7. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Saints vs. Cowboys (NBC) 7.86 9/29/2019
8. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Patriots vs. Steelers (NBC) 7.56 9/8/2019
9. WORLD’S BEST (Post-Super Bowl) (CBS) 7.30 2/3/2019
10. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Packers vs. Bears (NBC) 7.15 9/5/2019
11. GAME OF THRONES, “The Long Night” (HBO) 6.80 4/28/2019
12. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Vikings vs. Cowboys (NBC) 6.79 11/10/2019
13. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Ravens vs. Patriots (NBC) 6.78 11/3/2019
14. GAME OF THRONES, “The Bells” (HBO) 6.76 5/12/2019
15. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Cowboys vs. Eagles (NBC) 6.71 10/20/2019
16. NBA FINALS GAME 5: Warriors vs. Raptors (ABC) 6.68 6/10/2019
17. GAME OF THRONES, “The Iron Throne” (HBO) 6.58 5/19/2019
18. NBA FINALS GAME 6: Raptors vs. Warriors (ABC) 6.55 6/13/2019
19. GAME OF THRONES, “The Last of the Starks” (HBO) 6.33 5/5/2019
20. WORLD SERIES GAME 7: Nationals vs. Astros (Fox) 6.22 10/30/2019
21. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rams vs. Browns (NBC) 6.20 9/22/2019
22. GAME OF THRONES, “Winterfell” (HBO) 6.18 4/14/2019
23. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: 49ers vs. Packers (NBC) 5.97 11/24/2019
24. GRAMMY AWARDS (CBS) 5.90 2/10/2019
25. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Falcons vs. Eagles (NBC) 5.88 9/15/2019
26. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Eagles vs. Packers (Fox/NFL) 5.81 9/26/2019
27. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Packers vs. Chiefs (NBC) 5.78 10/27/2019
28. GAME OF THRONES, “A Night of the Seven Kingdoms” (HBO) 5.73 4/21/2019
29. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Colts vs. Chiefs (NBC) 5.63 10/6/2019
30. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks vs. 49ers (ESPN) 5.51 11/11/2019
31. GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS (NBC) 5.40 1/6/2019
32. NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: Virginia vs. Texas Tech (CBS) 5.38 4/8/2019
33. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rams vs. Bears (NBC) 5.18 11/17/2019
34. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Patriots vs. Giants (Fox/NFL) 5.06 10/10/2019
35. THE BIG BANG THEORY, “The Change Constant”/The Stockholm Syndrome” (Series Finale) (CBS) 5.04 5/16/2019
36. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Cowboys vs. Giants (ESPN) 4.93 11/4/2019
37. NBA FINALS GAME 1: Raptors vs. Warriors (ABC) 4.86 5/30/2019
38. NBA FINALS GAME 2: Warriors vs. Raptors (ABC) 4.83 6/2/2019
39. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Packers vs. Lions (ESPN) 4.79 10/14/2019
40. NBA FINALS GAME 3: Warriors vs. Raptors (ABC) 4.72 6/5/2019
41. NFL SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Steelers vs. Chargers (NBC) 4.63 10/13/2019
42. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Browns vs. Steelers (Fox/NFL Network) 4.56 11/14/2019
43. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks vs. Rams (Fox/NFL Network) 4.55 10/3/2019
44. THE MASKED SINGER, “Road to the Finals” (Fox) 4.50 2/27/2019
45. NBA FINALS GAME 4: Warriors vs. Raptors (ABC) 4.44 6/7/2019
46. NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs vs. Broncos (Fox/NFL Network) 4.38 10/17/2019
47. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Browns vs. Jets (ESPN) 4.36 9/16/2019
48. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs vs. Chargers (ESPN) 4.32 11/18/2019
49. NFL MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Browns vs. 49ers (ESPN) 4.19 10/7/2019
50. THE MASKED SINGER, “Mask On Face Off” (Series Premiere) (Fox) 4.17 1/2/2019
Source: Nielsen, 1/1/19 – 11/27/19 L7 Data. All Telecasts, Broadcast and Cable (excluding telecasts with durations under 25 min, including SB and NFC). Broadcast Prime, telecast with start times within daypart (M-Sat 8P-11P; Sun 6:30P-11P).

More TV

  • Luna Nera Netflix Italy

    Italy's Women Filmmakers Set to Make Waves

    The Berlinale in recent years has been a prime launching pad for Italian films directed by women, which though fewer in number to their male counterparts, make up a considerable portion of the country’s representation on the festival circuit — Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) at Cannes, Susanna Nicchiarelli (“Nico”) at Venice, and Berlin regular [...]

  • Love Me Scandinavian Cinema

    Scandinavia Ups Its Game With So Many Markets for Its Fare

    When the Nordic entertainment group, one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, announced last month during the Goteborg Film Festival that it was pulling out of non-scripted content to focus on scripted drama, and film production and distribution, it underscored two market trends in the Nordics: Subscription-based services, whether local or global, are driving the region’s [...]

  • Louis Hofmann in Prélude

    Berlin: Louis Hofmann Cast in Damian John Harper's 'Fresh' (EXCLUSIVE)

    German star Louis Hofmann is set to topline Damian John Harper’s upcoming drama “Fresh,” a German-language adaptation of Scottish writer Mark McNay’s novel of the same name. Hofmann plays a young man who must emancipate himself from his tyrannical older brother. Unlike the book, which is set in the outskirts of Glasgow, the film’s story [...]

  • Steve Stark

    Steve Stark Named President of Newly Formed MGM/UA Television

    The newly formed MGM/UA Television label has found a president in Steve Stark, who previously served as MGM’s president of scripted television production and development. MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett made the announcement late Friday, adding that Stark has extended his contract with the studio as part of his new role. “We are [...]

  • Bad Education

    TV News Roundup: HBO Sets Premiere Date for Hugh Jackman's 'Bad Education' (Watch)

    In today’s TV News roundup, HBO Films set the premiere date for “Bad Education” starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” tapes Chris Harrison and Sage Steele as hosts. CASTING “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will host “Volcano Live! with Nik Wallenda” alongside co-host Sage Steele of ESPN, ABC announced. [...]

  • Randall Park Ed Helms

    Randall Park, Ed Helms to Host Hybrid Alternative-Scripted Series 'True Story' for NBC

    Ed Helms and Randall Park are attached to co-host a hybrid scripted-alternative series titled “True Story” at NBC. The hour-long show has received a six-episode order. It is based on the Australian series “True Story with Hamish & Andy.” In the series, everyday Americans sit down with Helms and Park to share their most extraordinary [...]

  • Annie MurphyGlamour Women of the Year

    'Schitt’s Creek' Star Annie Murphy Cast as Lead in AMC's ‘Kevin Can F— Himself’

    “Schitt’s Creek” star Annie Murphy has been cast as the lead in AMC’s upcoming series “Kevin Can F— Himself.” The dark comedy centers around Murphy’s Allison, Kevin’s wife, who escapes her confines and discovers her rage. “Kevin Can F– Himself” probes the secret life of a type of woman we all grew up believing we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content