Sports, News Dominate First Week of the Year: TV By the Numbers

Nicholas Singleton #10 of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs with the ball to score a 87 yard touchdown against the Utah Utes during the third quarter in the 2023 Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium on January 02, 2023 in Pasadena, California.
(Image credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of January 2-8, highlighting the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Inscape (opens in new tab), and network and show TV ad impressions insights via iSpot.tv (opens in new tab).

Most-Watched Shows and Networks

Via Inscape, the currency-grade smart TV ACR data provider and data technology division of VIZIO with insights from a panel of more than 20 million opted-in TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

The NFL finished its regular season strong, capturing nearly 10% of all minutes watched (up from about 5% the previous week) and maintaining its first-place position week-over-week.

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • The college football playoffs wound down, with the Rose Bowl taking No. 4 (0.81% of minutes watched).
  • Basketball jumps up in our ranking, with college games grabbing second place (up from No. 15 previously) and accounting for 1.19% of watch-time, while the NBA swished into seventh place from No. 29.
  • Multiple news programs have week-over-week increases, including Fox & Friends (from No. 24 to No. 14), CNN Newsroom (from No. 28 to No. 16), CBS Mornings (from No. 23 to No. 17), Fox News Live (from No. 32 to No. 19), NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt (from No. 31 to No. 21), America’s Newsroom (from No. 38 to No. 23) and America Reports, which lands at No. 25 after not appearing in the top 50 shows the previous week.
  • Other programs that weren’t in the top 50 last time but make the chart this week include Blue Bloods (0.47% of minutes watched), Chicago P.D. (0.44%) and Forensic Files (0.39%).

Most-watched shows on TV by percent shared duration January 2-8.

CBS is the most-watched network, with 7.77% of watch-time (up from 7.16% the previous week). NFL games led for minutes watched on the network, with The Price Is Right and CBS Mornings also delivering viewership.

Additional insights around the most-watched networks from January 2-8:

  • Across the other major broadcast networks, NFL games led for minutes watched, helping NBC, ABC and Fox each move up the ranking a tick.
  • ESPN2 vaults into the chart at No. 17 (up from No. 40 previously), thanks in part to NFL and college football games, plus college basketball.
  • While Fox News maintains its sixth-place position week-over-week, both CNN and MSNBC move up the ranking, into the seventh and eighth places, respectively.
  • Week-over-week ranking newcomers include TNT (No. 24 with 0.95% of minutes watched) and TLC (No. 25, 0.92%).

Most-watched networks on TV by percent shared duration January 2-8

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via iSpot.tv, the real-time TV measurement company. Rankings are by share of TV ad impressions, for new episodes only.

The NFL is back on top this time around with a 19.53% share of TV ad impressions, up from 14% the week before. College football, which enjoyed a first-place position the previous week thanks to the playoffs and various bowl games, is No. 2 with a 3.49% impressions share.

More insights about the top programs by share of TV ad impressions:

  • Things are heating up on the basketball courts, with college basketball moving into third place with a 2.15% impressions share, while NBA games accounted for 1.25% of TV ad impressions.
  • Daytime favorites The Young and the Restless (1.12%), The View (0.69%) and The Bold and the Beautiful (0.60%) each move up the ranking with increases in impressions compared to the previous week.
  • Week-over-week ranking newcomers include NFL Countdown, America’s Newsroom and Jesse Watters Primetime.
  • Exatlón Estados Unidos: All-Stars is the only Spanish-language program on the ranking. The Telemundo reality show accounted for 0.66% of TV ad impressions during the week.

Top shows by TV ad impressions January 2-8

After being eclipsed by ESPN the previous week, CBS is back in first place for share of TV ad impressions (up to 16.65% from 14.97% the week before). A third of CBS’s TV ad impressions came from NFL games, followed by The Price Is Right (7.39%) and The Young and the Restless (6.29%). 

Additional notes on the top networks by share of TV ad impressions from January 2-8:

  • News networks that saw week-over-week increases in TV ad impressions include Fox News (up to 7.40% from 6.78% previously), MSNBC (up to 4.43% from 3.92%), CNN (up to 3.94% from 3.52%) and CNBC (0.41%, not previously in top 25 networks by impressions share).
  • Additional week-over-week ranking newcomers include TNT (No. 14), Hallmark Channel (No. 20), Bravo (No. 23) and Lifetime (No. 25).
  • Weather Channel moves up to No. 21 from No. 25 previously, with America’s Morning Headquarters delivering over 37% of impressions for the network.
  • Although Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo had decreases in share of TV ad impressions week-over-week, UniMás increased its impressions share to 0.83% from 0.56% previously.

Top networks by TV ad impressions January 2-8.

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.