After fifteen weeks of the 2010-11 broadcast primetime season, NBC is 4% ahead of its adults 18-49 average compared to last season at this point. That can be attributed substantially to the ratings surge for Sunday Night Football, which is up 9.1% with adults 18-49 vs. last season. No word on what NBC’s pre-season sacrifice to the football gods was, but it must have been a big one.

Fox is down 16.0% vs. last season in the advertiser important adults 18-49 average. That’s a bit worse than its season to season comparison last week.

Again, ABC’s season to season declines are hidden behind an even worse decline for a competitor (last season it was media pincushion NBC). This season ABC is 8.7% behind last season’s adults 18-49 average, which is a fraction worse than the comparison last week.

CBS is slightly behind (-1.5%) last season’s 18-49 average. The CW (+3.4%) remains ahead of last season’s adults 18-49 average. Univision continues well ahead (+12.5%) of last season’s adults 18-49 average.

Notes: The CW replaced one hour of their schedule last season (10%) that was a scheduled repeat with an original series this season. NBC is spending a lot more this season in primetime after replacing 5 hours of The Jay Leno Show with mostly scripted dramas.

Note that the % increases and declines calculated for the chart above use the average total viewership and the average adults 18-49 viewership, NOT the adults 18-49 ratings rounded to a single digit past the decimal point.

Broadcast network primetime season ratings overall: My calculation (using Nielsen data) of the average adults 18-49 ratings season to date for the 5 English broadcast networks is 4.6% below the season to date ratings average through the same week of the 2009-10 season.

Season to Date Ratings

CBS lead in primetime adults 18-49 ratings continues for the season averaging a 3.0 rating, although its lead continues to shrink. NBC is now in second place with a 2.8 rating average. Fox is in third with a 2.7 rating average. ABC remained in 4th place for the adults 18-49 demo and fell to a 2.5 rating average. ABC’s stay in fourth isn’t likely to be permanent this season, look for it to begin closing the gap with NBC after football season ends, and particularly after Dancing With The Stars returns.

CBS remains well ahead in the press release friendly, but advertiser ignored, season to date average viewership.

Each rating point is a percentage of the US TV population in that demographic group. A 1.0 adults 18-49 rating equals 1.315 million adults 18-49

The network’s average viewership is charted in millions of viewers, just like we report all other average viewership information on the site, and adults 18-49 is charted as ratings points. Note the units (million viewers on the left, rating on the right) below the bars.

Note that these season average ratings are “Most Current” measurements which are Live+7 day DVR viewing when available (2+ weeks after airdate), combined with LIve+Same Day DVR viewing for the most recent 2 weeks.

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

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

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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