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ABC Catches NBC In All Major Ratings Categories For The Season

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May 4th, 2010

ABC has now tied NBC in season average primetime ratings across the board in average viewership, adults 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54, even though NBC had the Winter Olympics. In each case, NBC retains a fractional lead, but since ratings are rounded to the nearest tenth for public reporting purposes a tie's a tie. And the ABC PR department cheers "We're not #4!"

Season To Date Ratings

  • Fox is certain to win both the adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 ratings races this season, and seems likely to stay tied with CBS for adults 25-54.
  • CBS is certain to win the average viewership race, and a tie with Fox for adults 25-54 seems likely.
  • NBC and ABC are locked in third place across the board, and seem likely to stay that way for the final 3 weeks of the season.

The xCBS and xNBC values in the Season To Date chart show the season to date ratings minus a few non-annual events for CBS and NBC.

  • The xCBS number is the CBS season to date ratings average minus the entire Super Bowl 2010 week.
  • The xNBC number is the NBC season to date ratings average minus the 3 weeks with any Winter Olympics telecasts.

Unfortunately, with the data I get, I can do no better than exclude entire weeks. Those numbers should not be considered "official", and there are always errors possible. They're meant to help answer the question "How would CBS (or NBC) be doing without those non-annual events".

Remove the Super Bowl week from CBS' averages and they're doing worse vs. last season than is ABC. Don't expect the general TV media to mention that. The fact that NBC is way down vs. last season is fine to discuss because of their sins during the Lenopocalypse, but noting the fact that ABC ratings have plunged, and CBS' would have without the Super Bowl, is not to be mentioned.

Ratings Increase / Decrease: 2009-10 Season vs. 2008-9 Season

  • Fox continues up in viewership, adults 18-49 and 18-34 vs. last season, but its spring has not done as relatively well as its fall, and its ratings gains vs. last year are nearing break even (and have reached break even for adults 25-54).
  • CBS is up only in adults 18-34 vs. last season, due to boost they received during Super Bowl week. Without it, they'd be down across the board in the adult demo ratings.
  • NBC, even with the Winter Olympics, is down 7% vs. last year in adults 18-49.
  • ABC is down vs. last season across the board between 4-8%.
  • Since the CW only programs Monday-Friday this season vs. Sunday-Friday last season, doing season to season comparisons is apples to oranges enough to not bother having to explain each week.

The xCBS and xNBC values in the Season To Season change chart show the season to date ratings changes minus a few non-annual events for CBS and NBC.

  • The xCBS number is the CBS season to season ratings change minus the entire Super Bowl 2010 week.
  • The xNBC number is the NBC season to season ratings change minus all 3 weeks that included any Winter Olympics this year, and the week that included the Super Bowl 2009 last year.

Unfortunately, with the data I get, I can do no better than exclude entire weeks. Those numbers should not be considered "official", and there are always errors possible. They're meant to help answer the question "How would CBS (or NBC) be doing without those non-annual events". I lack the data to do those adjusted comparisons for average viewership.

You can see past week's broadcast network primetime season to date average TV ratings results here.

Each rating point is a percentage of the US TV population in that demographic group and equals: 2.90 million viewers, 1.32 million adults 18-49, 0.68 million adults 18-34 and 1.24 million adults 25-54.

Note that the chart includes RATINGS not VIEWERSHIP as was typical in our weekly network ratings posts prior to July, 2009.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2010 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

 
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