Easy Guess Redux: CBS To Win Adults 18-49 Ratings Crown In 2012-13 For The First Time In 20 Years

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

September 9th, 2012

Regular readers: You are not losing your mind, this is effectively a repost of an article from May 16, 2012.

Amidst all the chatter from the TV media about the new shows for the 2012-13 season, I'll repeat a trivially easy guess that has nothing whatsoever to do with those new shows, and effectively nothing to do with entertainment programming at all.

CBS will win the adults 18-49 ratings crown for the 2012-13 season for the first time in 20 years (the last time was 1991-92).

Why is my guess such an easy one?

NFL post season games (with a possible assist from the baseball post season).

  • CBS finished two tenths of an adults 18-49 ratings point behind Fox during the 2011-12 season (3.0 to 3.2).
  • CBS will have the Super Bowl in 2013 (+0.3 season ratings points for CBS).
  • CBS will have the AFC Championship game in primetime in 2013 (+0.1 season rating point for CBS)
  • FOX will not have the NFC Championship game in primetime in 2013, like they did in 2012 (-0.1 season rating point for FOX)
  • FOX will have the MLB NL Championship Series this Fall, which is typically lower rated than the AL Championship Series they had last Fall (unknown, but likely negative for Fox).
  • FOX is unlikely to get another seven game World Series like they did last season (unknown, but likely negative for Fox).
Bottom line:
  • CBS adds 0.4 ratings points due to NFL post season games.
  • FOX loses 0.1 points due to NFL post season games, plus likely a bit more due to baseball playoff/World Series.

With that 0.5 point swing (plus the likely downward pressure on Fox due to baseball), CBS should easily beat FOX among adults 18-49 and finish on top this season regardless of what happens with either network's entertainment programs.

Remember, you heard it here first! (and second?)

Of course, Fox gets the Super Bowl and the NFC Championship game in primetime in 2014, as well as the AL Championship series in 2013, so CBS's reign atop the adults 18-49 ratings may be a short one!

  • Doug

    Then ABC, then NBC, which won’t have the Super Bowl boost.

  • JDinCanada

    and NBC drops to 5th place

  • Tyson

    NBC will be in fourth place. Sunday Night Football and The Voice will keep NBC ahead of the CW, Univision or any other network.

  • CrimTV


    NBC will not drop fifth because, like what Tyson said SNF and The Voice will keep it afloat, also a new show or a group of new shows may be very successful!

  • Bob

    CBS DEFINITELY deserves the honor. They are CLEARLY the best network on TV. The others are shameful. NBC is the worst.

  • Rob D.

    I do think the X factor will have much better ratings this year but I’m guessing it won’t be enough to make up for all of the reasons you gave.

  • Klaus

    My guess:

    CBS: 3.3 (+0.3)
    Fox: 3.0 (-0.2)
    NBC: 2.6 (+0.1)
    ABC: 2.2 (-0.2)
    CW: 0.6 (-0.1)

    CBS has got the Super Bowl and other good sports events, and its scripted shows will continue to do nicely, although I’m not at all sure that Partners and Made In Jersey will work.
    Fox is going to struggle, especially on Monday’s (till The Following comes along) and Tuesday’s (that comedy block will only be partially successful). I’m not sure whether Idol and X Factor will do well this year, depends totally on the judges.
    NBC will be damaging The Voice in the long-term by double-pumping it, but in the short-term that, Football and two new hits in Go On and The New Normal (as well as the highly anticipated dramas at Midseason) will give it a slight boost, despite everything else flopping.
    ABC has a ready-made hit in Nashville, and 666 Park Avenue will also do fine, but other than that it’ll be a miserable season, with the poor comedy development season really hurting the network.
    The CW will do really well from Arrow, but everything else (including Beauty and the Beast and midseason snoozefest Cult) will have a tough time, so the network as a whole will be slightly down.

  • omabin

    I agree with everything Klauss said.

  • joss


    Pha! You are shameful ABC is the best and NBC comedies are funnier

  • Oliver

    I expect Fox to be 2nd, with ABC and NBC close behind.

    Fox decline as X Factor/Idol struggle (but their numbers benefit from not programming the lower-rated 10pm hour), ABC quietly continue to be ABC, and NBC have a slightly better season than their last two plus they have their numbers artificially boosted by their rented SNF audience.

  • Oliver

    I don’t like their programming but CBS are undoubtedly the best run network. CBS are exceptionally good at targetting their demographic of the working class and older people. It helps that those demographics are most likely to watch network TV and watch TV live rather than DVRed. The only problem with this model is that there’s a creeping demographic timebomb as their older audience exits the demo.

  • Cristi

    Who won 2 years ago?

  • Oliver

    Fox has been #1 in 18-49 for the last 8 seasons.

  • Kevin


  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “I expect Fox to be 2nd, with ABC and NBC close behind.”

    ABC and NBC were virtually tied in 2011-12 (NBC ahead by less than 0.1). With NBC losing the 0.3 points from the Super Bowl I don’t expect them to be close to ABC.

  • Chris

    CBS deserves the win. They are the only major network making shows with broad-based appeal now.

  • DuMont

    My records indicate that CBS did not win A18-49s in the 1991-92 season. My numbers for the regular season were:

    1st ABC 7.8 A18-49
    2nd CBS 7.2 A18-49
    3rd NBC 7.1 A18-49
    4th FOX 5.7 A18-49

  • ToXiX


    Agree 100%

  • Person of Interest – TV’S #1 NEW DRAMA

    CBS are the best network. Their new “super thursday” will destroy all networks.

  • Person of Interest – TV’S #1 NEW DRAMA

    Wise and smart. I agree.

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