CBS Wins 2011-2012 Season in Viewers by Largest Margin of Victory by Any Network in 23 Years

Categories: CBS TV ratings,Network TV Press Releases

Written By

May 22nd, 2012

via press release:




CBS is America's Most Watched Network for the Ninth Time in 10 Years


Network Also is First in Adults 25-54 and Places Second Behind Fox and Ahead of NBC and ABC in Adults 18-49 for the SIXTH Consecutive Year


CBS Posts Year-to-Year Growth in Viewers, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54 with Viewer Increases on Five Nights


Network has Nine of the Top 10 Dramas; Six of the Top 10

Comedies in Adults 18-49


CBS Has the Season's Top New Series ("Person Of Interest") in Viewers and Top New Program in Adults 18-49 ("2 Broke Girls")  


"NCIS" is the Number One Drama/Scripted Program in Viewers for the Third Consecutive Season


"The Big Bang Theory" is the #1 Comedy


"The Grammy Awards" is the #1 Entertainment Special of the Year in Ratings and the #1 Broadcast of the Year in Social Media Mentions is the #1 Network Website Drawing More Viewers Than Any Other Network for 41 Consecutive Months



            With three nights remaining, CBS will win the 2011-2012 television season in viewers for the ninth time in the past 10 years and by the largest margin of victory by any network in 23 years, according to Nielsen most current ratings through Sunday, May 20.


            CBS will finish the season with 11.74 million viewers, nearly three million more viewers than its nearest competitor (FOX, 8.87m). CBS will also place first in adults 25-54 and second in adults 18-49 for the sixth consecutive year with more adult 18-49 viewers (3.80m) than NBC (3.18m) and ABC (3.10m). 


            Compared to last season, CBS will post growth in viewers (+1%), adults 18-49 (+3%) and adults 25-54 (+3%).


            CBS will deliver year-to-year increases among viewers on five nights (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) while finishing even on Tuesday and on four nights in adults 18-49 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday) and even on Friday.


In a sign of the network's broad reach and demographic strength across the schedule, CBS will finish the season with more programs ranked among the Top 25 in adults 18-49 (9) and adults 25-54 (11) than any other network. 


CBS has seven of the 10 scripted programs in adults 18-49: The Big Bang Theory, #2;  Two and a Half Men, #3; 2 Broke Girls, #4; How I Met Your Mother, #6; NCIS, #9; and MIKE & MOLLY and Criminal Minds, #10 (tie)— more than FOX (2) and ABC (3).


CBS has the season's #1 new series in viewers (Person Of Interest) for the third time in four years and #1 new program in adults 18-49 (2 Broke Girls) for the second consecutive year.


The Network had the #1 scripted program on all SEVEN nights—Monday (Two and a Half Men); Tuesday (NCIS); Wednesday (Criminal Minds); Thursday (The Big Bang Theory); Friday (Blue Bloods), Saturday (CRIMETIME SATURDAY) and Sunday (THE Good Wife).


Among viewers, CBS had the nine of the 10 dramas—NCIS, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, THE Mentalist, Person Of Interest, Criminal Minds, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, Blue Bloods, Unforgettable and THE Good Wife and the eight of the top 10 comedies—The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, ROB, MIKE & MOLLY, 2 Broke Girls, Rules of Engagement, and How I Met Your Mother and How To Be A Gentleman.


Online and across social media, CBS was also #1. has led all other networks in viewers for 41 consecutive months (source: comScore VideoMetrix, March 2012).  CBS shows and specials also generated more social media commentary than any other network with 44.2 million social media comments (source: Bluefin labs).


CBS season highlights:


  • More time period winning programs than all the other networks combined in viewers (13), adults 25-54 (15) and adults 18-49 (12).


  • Six of the top 20 programs among adults 18-49 (tied, most of any network)


  • #1 network in DVR lift, averaging an additional +1.40 million viewers with 7-day playback


  • #1 in viewers and key demographics in the Monday-Friday 10 PM hour leading into affiliate late local news.


  • Will win the May sweep in viewers for the 10th consecutive year and 11th in the last 12 years.


  • THE GRAMMY AWARDS averaged 39.91 million viewers and 14.1/33 in adults 18-49, posting its best delivery in viewers since the advent of people meters and best adult 18-49 delivery since 1993.  It also ranked as the year's #1 broadcast in social comments.


  • Social TV--Across all networks (broadcast and cable), CBS had five of the Top 20 broadcasts  for social media comments, more than any other network—"The Grammy Awards" (#1 overall), "The ACM Awards (#13), "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" (#17), "The Masters on CBS" (#18) and "The People's Choice Awards" (#20).  (Source:  Bluefin labs)


NATIONAL NIELSEN SUMMARY - PRIMETIME                                                                                            


SEASON-TO-DATE RATINGS REPORT (09/19/11-05/20/12)                                                                                         

                        2011-12                       2010-11                                  


                        Rtg      Sh                    Rtg      Sh                    Chg

CBS                7.4       12                    7.1       12                    +4%

NBC                4.5       7                      4.4       7                      +2%

ABC                5.4       9                      5.3       9                      +2%

FOX                5.3       9                      5.5       9                      -4%



                        (000)                            (000)                            Chg

CBS                11,748                         11,647                         +1%

NBC                7,384                           7,040                           +5%

ABC                8,360                           8,475                           -1%

FOX                8,866                           9,687                           -8%



                        Rtg      Sh                    Rtg      Sh                    Chg

CBS                3.9       10                    3.8       9                      +3%

NBC                2.9       7                      2.8       7                      +4%

ABC                3.1       8                      3.0       7                      +3%

FOX                3.6       9                      3.9       10                    -8%                                         



                        Rtg      Sh                    Rtg      Sh                    Chg

CBS                3.0       8                      2.9       8                      +3%

NBC                2.5       7                      2.3       6                      +9%

ABC                2.4       7                      2.5       7                      -4%

FOX                3.2       9                      3.5       10                    -9%

  • kyle

    VIEWER AMOUNT DON’T MEAN CRAP….according to networks except CBS because they win.

  • Goodtvishard

    Don’t you love how CBS listed “Unforgettable” and “How to be a Gentleman” as achievements in their press release, but also cancelled them. Unforgettable really should have been renewed and could have been an anchor with CSI NY to launch an original Saturday crime block.

  • Lane

    CBS has the number one comedy, number one drama, but no singing show so they’re second.

  • gregg

    cbs sucks. the only show on cbs i watch is the bold and the beautiful. nothing else

  • PFerrando

    CBS clearly is the winner. Daytime viewship as well. Their only weak spot is their morning and evening news shows, however, the Evening news is registering some gains.

  • Bob

    CBS is by far the best network on TV….no other network can get 20 million people to watch their shows unless maybe reality. CBS is beyond great. They are incredible!!!!!

  • Raykov

    We have to admit it… CBS is the only television which will have at least one drama from each of the past 10 years. Freshman series like Vegas, Second year – 2 Broke Girls , 3rd Year for Mike & Molly, 4th year – The Good Wife, 5th year – The Mentalist, 6th year – The Big Bang Theory, 7th year – Rules of Engagement, 8th year – How I Met Your Mother, 9th year – CSI: NY and 10th year – Two and a Half Men. This is the only network who can say this for itself. 10 straight years – at least 1 hit a year.

  • j


  • joethehobo

    Not that total viewers matter anyway, but this is a huge blow to people who desperately crave originality and creativity on primetime television. CBS is the king right now. Their ‘case-of-the-week’ shows and generic comedies are what people seem to be watching. I keep shaking my head and wondering what’s going to happen to primetime now that everyone is flocking to cable, but I can’t blame them. CBS is completely devoid of originality and creativity, but it’s still working for them. I mean, come on! Rules of Engagement gets almost four times the viewership of 30 Rock! The comparison of The Big Bang Theory to 30 Rock would just make you give up.

    Call me a troll, call me cynical. But this is the end of originality and creativity in network television.

  • Survivor Fan

    CBS is by far the number one network in 18-49 when you factor out the 10 PM block, which FOX does not program. It is pretty impressive to have the #2, 3, 4, and 5 scripted shows (TBBT, Men, 2BG, HIMYM) AND the top two non-talent reality shows (Survivor and TAR).

    Even How to be A Gentleman, which survived two episodes, can make an accomplishment list! By the way, it comes back Saturday night, to try to break the record for lowest rated original on the Bg Four ever (0.2- Escape Routes and Kings).

  • Survivor Fan

    No, HIMYM is #6, but you get the point

  • Nick

    The #1 comedy is Modern Family. What world do you live on?

  • Ultima

    I keep shaking my head and wondering what’s going to happen to primetime now that everyone is flocking to cable

    Cable has been taking viewers from the broadcast networks for more than three decades and has long since surpassed them in aggregate viewership.

    You don’t need to wonder what’s going to happen, just look at what has happened over the past decade.

  • GDfriends

    So many haters on this board…tsk, tsk, tsk

    People say CBS isn’t creative/innovative, I say look at the Good Wife, The Amazing Race, Survivor and even comedies BBT and Mike&Molly

    People say CBS is for the old yet they have beaten ABC/NBC in the demos for 6 years straight

    People say the other nets have more shows that have “out of the box” thinking…well of course they do, CBS doesn’t have any room on its schedule due to always having strong hits and shows that go into syndication…they can’t afford to buy 12+ shows per season like ABC/NBC because they actually have shows that people watch regularly.

    I will point out one more thing CBS doesn’t have…one reality show that runs 3 hours a week (at least)…

    CBS is the Bently of the network stations…and fans of other nets are jealous of her success…so please stop critisizing and hop into your nets cars (Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Excels) and hope they start… ;)

  • pinecone

    Gdfriends —

    I couldn’t have said it better! No way around it, CBS completely crushes the competition, and will for many seasons to come.

  • ragincajun


    If you are interested, several old Zappers are congregating here –

  • HG


  • jake

    CBS is THE BEST network on tv. they have the best dramas & comedies. congratulations CBS!!!!!!!!

  • joethehobo


    “I will point out one more thing CBS doesn’t have…one reality show that runs 3 hours a week (at least) … ”

    Big Brother airs three nights a week, an hour each. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Big Brother fan, but your statement on which you prided yourself so was incorrect.

  • ABC hater

    NBC IS #3? luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuulz

    C’mon, haters! :D

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