NBC is celebrating a season-long ratings win among adults 18-49 for the third time in four years, and CBS will end 2016-17 No. 1 in viewers for approximately the 47th consecutive season.
OK — that last statistic is an exaggeration. But CBS will finish the season as the most-watched broadcaster for eighth straight year and the 14th time in the past 15 seasons. The only season since 2002-03 it didn’t lead in viewers was the atypical writers’ strike year of 2007-08. FOX won that year thanks in large part to “American Idol” being strike-proof and having the Super Bowl on its air.
NBC leads the 18-49 rankings for the season with a 2.1 rating, two tenths better than FOX’s 1.9. CBS is third at 1.8 and ABC fourth at 1.6. Here’s how things stack up through Sunday, May 20, three days before the official end of the September-to-May season. (All figures are “most current,” a combination of Live +7 ratings for most of the season and same-day numbers for the past couple of weeks).
|Season to date||ABC||CBS||CW||FOX||NBC||TEL||UNI|
|Adults 18-49 rating/share (rank)||1.6/6 (4)||1.8/7 (3)||0.7/2 (5)||1.9/7 (2)||2.1/8 (1)||0.6/2 (6t)||0.6/2 (6t)|
|Viewers in millions (rank)||6.22 (3)||9.65 (1)||1.81 (5t)||5.84 (4)||8.12 (2)||1.51 (7)||1.81 (5t)|
NBC also notes that it would finish first for the season among adults 18-49 if news and sports were stripped out (1.7 vs. 1.6 for ABC and CBS and 1.3 for FOX, whose overall number is helped greatly by the Super Bowl and a huge World Series last fall). NBC had the season’s only breakout new show in the demo in “This Is Us,” and “The Voice” is in a virtual tie with “The Bachelor” as the top unscripted series.
CBS has a 1.53 million-person lead over NBC for the top spot in viewers. There may be minor changes to the viewer tallies when all ratings through the end of the season on Wednesday are calculated, but other than a possible tiebreak between The CW and Univision for fifth place in viewers, the rankings should remain the same.
The Eye has five of the 10 most-watched shows, as many as the other networks combined. “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS” and “Bull” are 1-2-3 in viewers among scripted shows.
As we wrap up the 2016-17 season, let TV by the Numbers be the first to congratulate NBC on its upcoming and very, very likely season-long victory for 2017-18.
The network has the rights to the 2018 Super Bowl, plus the Winter Olympics in Feburary and 24 primetime NFL regular-season games, plus likely a playoff contest or two, on tap for next season. It would take a nearly unprecedented collapse of the regular schedule for NBC not to repeat as at least the 18-49 leader next season.