NBC Wins Sept.-May 18-49 Ratings Race

NBC has clinched the top spot in the Sept.-May race for viewers 18-49, the network’s third win in four years, and its first that did not get a boost from the Super Bowl or the Olympics. With three nights left in the season, NBC had a 2.1 rating in 18-49 primetime, ahead of Fox’s 1.9, CBS’ 1.8, ABC’s 1.6 and The CW’s 0.7.

“Broadcast television is thriving, and on behalf of everyone at NBC we are grateful to have won the season again in all the valuable key demos,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. “Sports is a vital part of our lineup and contributes to our No. 1 position, but I’m also very proud of the fact that this is the first time in 13 seasons we’ve also won on an entertainment program-only (non-sports) basis. In addition, our scripted shows—featuring the phenomenon This Is Us—and our reality shows, led by the The Voice—are No. 1 in those respective areas as well. Presidents Jennifer Salke and Paul Telegdy and their remarkable teams have done the impossible this year and I congratulate all of them.”   

CBS won the season in total viewers for the ninth consecutive season and 14th in the past 15 years. CBS averaged 9.65 million viewers, ahead of NBC’s 8.12 million. ABC was at 6.2 million, Fox 5.8 million and CW 1.8 million.

CBS' The Big Bang Theory, NCIS and Bull were the top three scripted series in total viewers.

For entertainment programs only, excluding live news and sports, NBC had a 1.7 rating in viewers 18-49, ahead of ABC’s and CBS’ 1.6, Fox’s 1.3 and CW’s 0.7.  

Michael Malone

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.