NBC Completes Best May Sweep in Nine Years as Network Finishes 0.1 Ratings Point Out of First

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

May 23rd, 2013


via press release:


In Year-to-Year Comparisons, NBC Is Up 6 Percent While the Other Big 4 Networks Are All Down Double-Digits

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — May 23, 2013 — NBC has delivered its most successful May sweep in nine years, finishing within just 0.1 of a rating point of #1 after finishing 0.8 of a point out of first in May 2012 and 1.3 points out of #1 two years ago (“live plus same day”).

For the period April 25-May 22, NBC earned a 1.7 rating in the 18-49 demo. That was up 6 percent versus May 2012 while ABC, CBS and Fox (each at a 1.8 rating) are all down by double-digit percentages.

It’s the first time in nine years NBC is finishing a May sweep within less than 0.8 of a rating point of first place.

NBC was also the only Big 4 network to see an increase in total viewers for the May sweep. The network averaged 5.458 million viewers overall, which was third place among the Big 4 networks and up 2% from a year ago. CBS and ABC were down 8 percent and Fox fell 27 percent.

The Monday edition of “The Voice” (3.9, L+SD) is the #2 primetime series on the broadcast networks for the May sweep in adults 18-49 and the #1 reality series. Tuesday’s “Voice” (3.7) was the #3 primetime series and #2 reality series. Monday’s “Voice” was also the #1 series in women 18-34 and teens 12-17.

NBC is up this May versus last on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, by 10 percent on Monday nights (to a 3.2 rating from last season’s 2.9, boosted by “The Voice” and “Revolution”), 4 percent on Tuesday nights (2.8 vs. 2.7, led by “The Voice” and “Grimm”), 21 percent on Wednesday nights (1.7 vs. 1.4, thanks to “Law & Order: SVU” and “Chicago Fire”) and 23 percent on Thursdays (1.6 vs. 1.3, boosted by the series finale of “The Office”).

NBC series that have grown this May versus last May in 18-49 include Sunday’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams” (+38%, 1.1 vs. 0.8, L+SD), Monday’s “The Voice” (+5%, 3.9 vs. 3.7) and “Grimm” (+21%, 1.7 vs. 1.4).

May Sweep Adults 18-49 vs. May 2012, Live Plus Same Day
Net…May 2012… May 2013…Diff
NBC…1.6…1.7…Up 6%
CBS…2.0…1.8…Down 10%
ABC…2.1…1.8…Down 14%
Fox…2.4…1.8…Down 25%

May Sweep Total Viewers vs. May 2012, Live Plus Same Day
Net…May 2012… May 2013…Diff
NBC… 5.336 million …5.458 million…Up 2%
CBS…9.527 million…8.727 million…Down 8%
ABC…7.764 million …7.116 million…Down 8%
Fox…7.480 million …5.443 million…Down 27%

As for the entire 2012-13 primetime TV season, NBC ran within a tenth of a rating point of second place in adults 18-49, the network’s most competitive position at the end of a season in nine years.

NBC has finished the season within a tenth of a point of #2 Fox, a dramatic improvement versus one year ago, when, even with the boost of the Super Bowl, NBC trailed then-#1 Fox by 0.7 of a point and #2 CBS by 0.5 of a point.

Excluding Olympic years, this is the first time since the 2005-06 season that a network has followed up a Super Bowl season with an 18-49 decline of just 0.1 of a rating point. NBC also finished down just a tenth during the 2009-10 season, the year after carrying the Super Bowl, but had Olympic help that season. Every other network that’s carried a Super Bowl over the last seven years has declined the following season by at least 0.3 of a rating point the following season. In 2005-06, Fox broke even the year after carrying the Super Bowl and is the last network to do so.

NBC is #3 for the 2012-13 season and ahead of ABC outright for the first time in the nine years since NBC won the 2003-04 season. NBC tied ABC for #3 last season with help from the Super Bowl (rounding to a tie in “live plus seven day” ratings after edging ABC in initial “most current” results) and NBC also tied ABC for #3 during 2009-10 season with Olympic help. Note that this year, NBC is cleanly rating ahead of ABC with no Super Bowl or Olympic boost.

In the nine years since NBC won the 2003-04 season, the closest NBC had come to #2 before this season was five years ago, when the network finished 0.2 of a point behind the second-place tie of ABC and CBS during the strike season of 2007-08 (with a 2.8 vs. a 3.0 for ABC and CBS). Excluding the strike season, NBC hasn’t finished closer than 0.4 of a point to second place over the last nine seasons.


  • Michael

    Awesome NBC! I’m happy for them.

  • Androme

    I am speechless. Even for someone who stands by NBC, I am speechless. Congratulations to all of NBC.

  • Lodak

    Um, aren’t they [NBC] still in last place?

  • Randy

    They were still last. All of the other 3 networks tied for first and they were last. I don’t think they deserve a congratulations.

  • Oliver

    I imagine NBC are a bit disappointed as they clearly set out to win it. The Voice faded too fast.

  • Jacob

    Soo they still got last…2 years in a row. NBC is dead….infact so is broadcast TV

  • Winston

    Lol. Everyone drops from the previous year and still beats you…..send the press release. Ah network spin.

  • Michael

    The Voice could only do so much for NBC. They need better programming, especially in the comedies department.

  • Chris

    NBC coming in dead last but getting to pretend it’s in second place just because everyone else tied for first is funny, but it’s the overall rankings that are surprising. NBC somehow was not actually in last place for the year? Send out the press release, the stockholders will be overjoyed!

    Never has any network been so happy — and so incredibly lucky — to win the bronze. And all it took was every other broadcast network tanking so badly that even a marginal improvement on NBC’s poor performance could rocket it to third place for the season!

    I’m a little surprised that there’s not more spin on this announcement. You’d think that they’d want to trot out “…and we weren’t even trying this season,” or “…this is a victory for the underdog, because everyone else has waaaay more money than us to spend on programming and promotion,” or even “…everyone is sinking, but some of their rats fled to OUR ship!” ;)

  • Ultima

    Soo they still got last…2 years in a row. NBC is dead….infact so is broadcast TV


  • cimmer

    Way to make lemonade out of lemons NBC. ;) How close was Univision to nipping at their heels?

  • rob60990

    Hours and hours of The Voice and NBC is still last for May Sweeps.

  • Chuck_T

    None of the networks have anything to crow about. Broadcast television is dying because they have run out of ideas and cater to shows THEY THINK will appeal to younger viewers but by and large appeal to nobody.

  • HT

    Seriously, this all hangs off of one show – The Voice – if they didn’t have that show, they’d be sunk and we all know it.

  • Saba

    lets not forget the simple math that NBC went up 6% while other networks dropped double digits, so at the end it all even out. ;) Now i can go to my room and take my anger out on my pillow

  • PurpleDrazi

    They may have come in last in ratings but they certainly take first place for creative PR spin. Someone else has finally surpassed ABC in the PR absurdity department.

  • Michael1


    “None of the networks have anything to crow about. Broadcast television is dying because they have run out of ideas and cater to shows THEY THINK will appeal to younger viewers but by and large appeal to nobody.”

    Broadcast TV may be “dying”, but NBC owns USA, ABC owns ESPN, CBS owns Showtime, and FOX owns FOX News. Network TV shows still have the largest audiences, and all networks seem to have transition plans in place for the day that that is no longer the case. As long as the nightly cable ratings are dominated by re-runs of “The Big Bang Theory”, “Family Guy”, “NCIS”, “Two and a Half Men”, “Law and Order SVU”, and other network shows, I would hold off on writing their collective obituary.

  • Sab G

    This has got to be the ballsiest spin on coming last I have ever seen.

  • peter

    Since when the 4th out of 4 networks is being considered a success ? they say only 0.1 points with the first and they forgot second and third as well.

    Hooorrrraaaay! we re 4th out of the 4 big networks !

  • Josh

    The voice and office series finale were the only reasons this was even possible, NBC got massive ratings boost from office series finale, it was .02 shy of wining its time slot!

© 2015 Tribune Digital Ventures