TV By the Numbers: Football Scores Again for Watch-Time, Impressions

Kendall Fuller #29 of the Washington Football Team and Kenny Golladay #19 of the New York Giants unable to gain control of the ball during the third quarter at FedExField on Sept. 16, 2021 in Landover, Maryland.
(Image credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Included below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of Sept. 13-19, spotlighting the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and top shows and networks by TV ad impressions with insights via

Most-Watched Shows and Networks

Via Inscape, Vizio’s TV data product with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 17 million active and opted-in smart 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).

Week two of the NFL regular season turned out much like week one did: as the No. 1 programming for watch-time on TV. NFL games made up 6.41% of all minutes watched during the week of Sept. 13-19.

Behind the NFL, college football is No. 2, with 3.87% of watch-time during the time period, followed by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (0.84%), Good Morning America (0.83%) and Friends (0.77%) to round out the top five.

Highlighting the draw of sports-related programming before the fall TV season begins in earnest, SportsCenter is No. 6 on the week with 0.76% of minutes watched, while Major League Baseball is No. 8 at 0.59% as teams jockey for playoff position. And in yet another win for football, NFL RedZone winds up at No. 24.

The top 25 most-watched shows ranking also features several week-over-week newcomers. Thanks to its season finale, America’s Got Talent moves up from No. 26 to No. 13 by minutes watched, while the 73rd Emmy Awards telecast is No. 17. CBS Mornings leaps from No. 30 to No. 18, while America Reports With John Roberts & Sandra Smith, NFL RedZone and ABC World News Tonight with David Muir are all week-over-week new arrivals as well after each missed the top 25 the previous week.

Most-watched shows on TV by percent share duration Sept. 13-19

Boosted by two afternoon NFL windows on Sunday and a big Alabama vs. Florida college football matchup on Saturday, CBS grabs the top spot by watch-time for the week of Sept. 13-19, with 8.14% of minutes watched. 

NBC is No. 2 on the week, with 7.02% of minutes watched, buoyed by programs including Sunday Night Football and America’s Got Talent. ABC is No. 3 with 6.87% of watch-time thanks in part to a Monday Night Football simulcast and another full slate of college football on Saturday. The NFL and college football helped power Fox to No. 4 at 5.05% of minutes watched, while Fox News is No. 5 with 4.59%.

NFL Network is the biggest mover, from No. 46 in our previous ranking all the way up to No. 13 for the week of Sept. 13-19. As one might guess, the NFL fueled the rise, as the network simulcast its first Thursday night game of the year — the  New York Giants vs. the Washington Football Team — with Amazon Prime Video.

MSNBC also moves up, from No. 16 to No. 12, as does Bravo — from No. 27 to No. 25.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent share duration Sept. 13-19

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

For the week of Sept. 13-19, the NFL picks up right where it left off the previous week, once again serving up more TV ad impressions than any other programming. Live NFL games delivered over 7.2 billion impressions on the week.

College football holds steady at No. 2, with nearly 4.5 billion TV ad impressions, followed by Good Morning America (934 million), Today (836 million) and The Price Is Right (815 million).

America’s Got Talent’s season finale fuels a leap into the top 10 with nearly 643 million impressions. The 73rd Emmy Awards telecast on CBS arrives in the top 25 as well, coming in at No. 23.

TV shows by TV ad impressions Sept. 13-19

CBS got a bump from the NFL, Alabama football and the Emmys on its way to laying claim to the No. 1 spot in this week’s ad-impressions-by-network ranking. The network’s 9.9 billion TV ad impressions are nearly 3 billion more than the next-closest network.

Speaking of, ABC is No. 2 on the week with 7.0 billion impressions, followed by NBC (6.6 billion), Fox News (5.0 billion) and Fox (2.9 billion). All of those but Fox News aired at least two NFL or college football games during the week of Sept. 13-19.

Despite TV’s distinct focus on football right now, news continues to deliver billions of TV ad impressions across cable. Beyond Fox News, MSNBC and CNN each delivered over 2.2 billion impressions from Sept. 13-19, while The Weather Channel (362 million) and CNBC (322 million) both also appear among the top 20 networks by impressions.

TV networks by TV ad impressions Sept. 13-19

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