Sports media has been abuzz for most of the NFL season about how ratings for the league’s games are down. It’s true; on the whole, the NFL’s TV audience has declined by about 9 percent this season.

What’s also true is that drop mirrors the overall drop in ratings among broadcast networks this fall vs. last. The NFL is still the biggest TV game in town by a long shot: 44 of the 100 (or 103, including a few ties) highest-rated primetime telecasts of the year were NFL games.

Include other sports, and the number grows to 62. Entertainment shows make up the minority of the highest-rated programs.

See also: The 100 most-watched TV programs of 2017

As was the case last year, the Oscar broadcast (9.1 rating) was the No. 1 non-sports show; it tied for fifth overall. Next came the Grammy Awards in 11th place with a 7.8.

All ratings below are live + same-day, and the list includes only primetime programs. Sports pre- and post-game shows aren’t included in the list.

Top 100 primetime telecasts (including ties) among adults 18-49 in 2017

Rank Show Network Airdate 18-49 rating
18-49 viewers (millions)
1 Super Bowl LI FOX Feb. 5 37.1 47.62
2 AFC Championship CBS Jan. 22 15.4 19.78
3 NFL Divsional Playoff NBC Jan. 15 12.0 15.35
4 NFL Divsional Playoff CBS Jan. 14 9.4 12.03
5 Sunday Night Football NBC Sept. 10 9.1 11.70
The Oscars ABC Feb. 26 9.1 11.68
NBA Finals Game 5 ABC June 12 9.1 11.63
8 NFL Wild-Card Game NBC Jan. 7 8.4 10.73
9 World Series Game 7 FOX Nov. 1 8.2 10.54
10 College Football Playoff Championship ESPN Jan. 9 8.0 10.29
11 Grammy Awards CBS Feb. 12 7.8 10.05
12 NFL Kickoff game NBC Sept. 7 7.7 9.88
13 Sunday Night Football NBC Jan. 1 7.4 9.50
14 NBA Finals Game 3 ABC June 7 7.2 9.28
15 Sunday Night Football NBC Sept. 17 7.1 9.91
NBA Finals Game 2 ABC June 4 7.1 9.13
NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship CBS April 3 7.1 9.09
18 Sunday Night Football NBC Nov. 19 7.0 9.05
19 NBA Finals Game 1 ABC June 1 6.9 8.85
20 NBA Finals Game 4 ABC June 9 6.8 8.68
21 Sunday Night Football NBC Oct. 22 6.5 8.41
22 Sunday Night Football NBC Dec. 3 6.4 8.30
23 Sunday Night Football NBC Sept. 24 6.3 8.14
24 24: Legacy FOX Feb. 5 6.1 7.84
25 World Series Game 6 FOX Oct. 31 6.0 7.79
Sunday Night Football NBC Nov. 26 6.0 7.67
27 Sunday Night Football NBC Nov. 12 5.8 7.52
Sunday Night Football NBC Oct. 8 5.8 7.51
Sunday Night Football NBC Oct. 1 5.8 7.48
30 The Walking Dead AMC Feb. 12 5.7 7.34
Game of Thrones HBO Aug. 27 5.7 7.32
32 Sunday Night Football NBC Oct. 15 5.6 7.19
Golden Globe Awards NBC Jan. 8 5.6 7.15
34 NCAA Final Four CBS April 1 5.5 7.05
35 The Walking Dead AMC April 2 5.4 6.95
Sunday Night Football NBC Dec. 10 5.4 6.94
37 World Series Game 5 FOX Oct. 29 5.3 6.84
The Walking Dead AMC Feb. 19 5.3 6.77
39 NFL Football/Thanksgiving Night NBC Nov. 23 5.1 6.54
Thursday Night Football CBS Oct. 5 5.1 6.52
Monday Night Football ESPN Sept. 25 5.1 6.52*
42 The Walking Dead AMC Oct. 22 5.0 6.49
Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve part 2 ABC Dec. 31 5.0 6.40
Game of Thrones HBO Aug. 13 5.0 6.39
45 Sunday Night Football NBC Nov. 5 4.9 6.38
The Walking Dead AMC Feb. 26 4.9 6.35
The Walking Dead AMC March 12 4.9 6.27
The Walking Dead AMC March 26 4.9 6.27
49 Thursday Night Football CBS Sept. 28 4.8 6.18
Sunday Night Football NBC Oct. 29 4.8 6.16
51 Thursday Night Football NBC Nov. 30 4.7 6.12
The Walking Dead AMC March 19 4.7 6.06
Game of Thrones HBO July 16 4.7 6.05
The Walking Dead AMC March 5 4.7 6.04
Game of Thrones HBO Aug. 20 4.7 6.04
56 Thursday Night Football CBS Oct. 12 4.6 5.92
Game of Thrones HBO Aug. 6 4.6 5.91
58 Thursday Night Football CBS Oct. 19 4.5 5.86
59 Game of Thrones HBO July 23 4.3 5.56
Game of Thrones HBO July 30 4.3 5.52
Monday Night Football ESPN Oct. 2 4.3 5.50*
Thursday Night Football NBC Dec. 7 4.3 5.49
63 Monday Night Football game 1 ESPN Sept. 11 4.2 5.43
Thursday Night Football NBC Nov. 16 4.2 5.40
World Series Game 2 FOX Oct. 25 4.2 5.39
66 Rose Bowl ESPN Jan. 2 4.1 5.32
The Big Bang Theory CBS Sept. 25 4.1 5.27
Saturday Night Football NBC Dec. 24 4.1 5.24
Hunted CBS Jan. 22 4.1 5.21
70 The Walking Dead AMC Oct. 29 4.0 5.15
Thursday Night Football NBC Nov. 9 4.0 5.15
72 Monday Night Football game 2 ESPN Sept. 11 3.9 5.08
Monday Night Football ESPN Oct. 23 3.9 5.07
World Series Game 1 FOX Oct. 24 3.9 5.05
This Is Us NBC Sept. 26 3.9 5.03
World Series Game 3 FOX Oct. 27 3.9 5.00
The Walking Dead AMC Nov. 12 3.9 4.95*
78 Young Sheldon CBS Sept. 25 3.8 4.93
The Walking Dead AMC Nov. 5 3.8 4.88
Monday Night Football ESPN Nov. 6 3.8 4.80*
81 Monday Night Football ESPN Oct. 9 3.7 4.83
World Series Game 4 FOX Oct. 28 3.7 4.71
83 Big Ten Football Championship FOX Dec. 2 3.6 4.69
Live from the Red Carpet ABC Feb. 26 3.6 4.65
The Big Bang Theory CBS Jan. 5 3.6 4.64
The Walking Dead AMC Nov. 26 3.6 4.57*
87 Monday Night Football ESPN Oct. 30 3.5 4.56
Monday Night Football ESPN Nov. 20 3.5 4.52*
Monday Night Football ESPN Dec. 4 3.5 4.47*
The Simpsons FOX Jan. 8 3.5 4.44
Monday Night Football ESPN Dec. 25 3.5 4.44*
92 Thursday Night Football CBS Oct. 26 3.4 4.42
The Walking Dead AMC Nov. 19 3.4 4.38*
This Is Us NBC March 14 3.4 4.37
The Big Bang Theory CBS Jan. 19 3.4 4.31
The Walking Dead AMC Dec. 10 3.4 4.30*
97 The Walking Dead AMC Dec. 3 3.3 4.20*
98 CMA Awards ABC Nov. 8 3.2 4.19
NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 CBS March 24 3.2 4.14
100 This Is Us NBC Oct. 3 3.1 4.06
The Big Bang Theory CBS Oct. 2 3.1 4.06
The Voice NBC Feb. 27 3.1 4.04
The Big Bang Theory CBS Feb. 2 3.1 4.03
Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve part 1 ABC Dec. 31 3.1 3.99
Monday Night Football ESPN Dec. 18 3.1 3.94*

*Adults 18-49 viewers approximated.

Source: The Nielsen Company.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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