NBC Grabs Total Viewers Lead for the Season

NBC has a rare ratings lead in total viewers, thanks in part to the Super Bowl, the Olympics and hit drama This Is Us. NBC is averaging 9.57 million total viewers for the season, through 20 weeks in “most current” ratings from Nielsen.

CBS, the long-time total viewers champ, sits at 9.39 million. ABC is at 5.91 million and Fox is at 5.89 million.

NBC said it is its first total viewers lead since the 2001-2002 season.

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NBC also sits atop the 18-49 demographic that advertisers desire, averaging 2.47 million, ahead of Fox’s 1.77 million, CBS’ 1.66 million and ABC’s 1.45 million.

“On behalf of myself and Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, we are enormously proud of everyone at NBC for achieving the milestone of becoming America’s most-watched network for the first time in 16 years,” said Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “Only five years ago we were still fourth place in total viewers after having regained the 18-49 demo crown in 2014, a level we’ve maintained for the past four full seasons.“ 

The ratings include “live plus seven” data from Sep. 25, 2017 through Jan. 28, 2018 and “live plus same day” results from Jan. 29-Feb. 11. 

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NBC had the Super Bowl Feb. 4, and the Olympics started up Feb. 8. Season two of This Is Us is up 23% in total viewers over last season, according to the network. The Voice, Little Big Shots and rookie Ellen’s Game of Games are also boosting ratings.

“This is an achievement that reflects NBC’s strength as a true broadcaster, delivering mega-events like Sunday Night Football, the Super Bowl and Olympics, along with the some of the highest-rated scripted and unscripted programming on television,” continued Greenblatt. “We are incredibly proud of our owned and affiliated stations as well as our studio, programming, scheduling, sales, marketing, publicity, affiliate-relations and operations teams, all of which are second to none in this industry.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.