NBC Wins 2020-2021 Season in 18-49, Total Viewers

Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth of Sunday Night Football
Al Michaels (l.) and Cris Collinsworth of NBC's ‘Sunday Night Football,’ which helped power the net's ratings in 2020-21. (Image credit: NBC Sports)

NBC won the 2020-2021 season in both viewers 18-49 and total viewers. The season concluded Sunday, Sept. 19. Across the 52-week year, NBC averaged a 1.0 in viewers 18-49, per Nielsen, ahead of Fox (0.9) and ABC and CBS (both at 0.8). In total viewers, NBC averaged 5.29 million, ahead of CBS’s 5.26 million. ABC had 4.31 million and Fox had 3.56 million. 

NBC has won the 18-49 demo race seven out of the last eight seasons, the network said. NBC last won the demo and total viewers races in 2017-2018. 

“In an era with no shortage of viewing options, the reach and impact of broadcast television is still undeniable,” said Frances Berwick, chairman, entertainment networks, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “NBC remains a pillar of strength both within our portfolio as well as the larger television landscape, and we’re excited about the future as we continue to grow and connect our TV and streaming business.”

Pacing NBC was Sunday Night Football, which the network said has been No. 1 in viewers 18-49 for 10 consecutive years, Saturday Night Live, The Voice and America’s Got Talent, among other well-viewed series. 

“The distinction of Most Watched Network is a testament to the depth and quality of our programming, which continues to consistently deliver many of television’s biggest hits, night after night and across all genres,” said Susan Rovner, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming’s chairman of entertainment content. “NBC is honored to be in the top position with viewers and we plan to ride this momentum into the next 52 weeks with one of our most dynamic programming lineups to date.”

The new TV season is underway

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.