NBC Wins Yearly 18-49 and Total Viewers Race

NBC will win the September to September race in adults 18-49 for the fifth time in a row, but more surprising is the network’s pending win in total viewers. It will be NBC’s first total viewers victory in 16 years; CBS took that title the prior nine years.

The 52-week season ends Sept. 23. Through 50 weeks, NBC has averaged a 1.8 in 18-49, ahead of ABC and CBS at 1.3, Fox at 1.2 and The CW’s 0.5.

For total viewers, NBC is at 7.8 million, ahead of CBS’ 7.7 million. ABC is at 5.5 million, Fox at 4.2 million and The CW at 1.5 million.

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“I’m extremely pleased that NBC has prevailed once again in 18-49 and all demos, but we’re obviously thrilled to become America’s Most-Watched Network in total viewers for the first time in 16 years,” said NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt. “I’m so proud of our incomparable teams and all our division leaders — especially chief programmers Paul Telegdy, Tracey Pakosta, Lisa Katz, Pearlena Igbokwe, and Meredith Ahr — whose consistent hard work, strategic thinking and relentless drive have pushed the network to this dominant position in a marketplace that is more competitive and challenging than at any other time in history.”

NBC said its 38% margin of victory among viewers 18-49 is the largest advantage at this point of the season for any network in the 31-year history of Nielsen’s people meters.

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NBC had the Super Bowl and the Olympics this year.

“No doubt the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics (and NFL football) combined to help deliver a record number of viewers to the network this year, but it’s significant to note that even excluding sports from all the averages we are still No. 1 in the key 18-49 demo for scripted programming and/or unscripted programming, not to mention first in total viewers in the unscripted category,” said Greenblatt. “Big hits like This Is Us, the Chicago franchise, The Good Place, Will & Grace, America’s Got Talent, World of Dance, The Voice and Ellen’s Game of Games — to name but a few — are extremely popular, yes, but they also represent a level of upscale quality that continues to define the NBC brand.”

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.