TV By the Numbers: MLB Playoffs a Hit for Cable Networks TBS & FS1

MyCole Pruitt #85 of the Tennessee Titans catches a touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in the game at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 24, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
MyCole Pruitt #85 of the Tennessee Titans catches a touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in the game at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 24, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Image credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of Oct. 18-24, showcasing the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and the 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).

The National Football League is the most-watched programming on TV once again. During the week of Oct. 18-24, NFL games ran up 5.59% of minutes watched, claiming the No. 1 spot in our ranking.

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • The Major League Baseball playoffs continue to score, as the American League and National League Championship Series combine for 3.07% of watch-time (third among all programs).
  • College football leaps back up to second by way of close games across the country between ranked teams.
  • The National Basketball Association tips off to 1.29% of all minutes watched on TV, taking the fourth overall spot as the 2021-22 season gets started.
  • Ahead of the season nine premiere, Below Deck catches 0.48% of minutes watched with a marathon on Bravo.

Also Read: Fall 2021 TV Premiere Dates

Most-watched shows on TV by percent share duration Oct. 18-24

CBS stays atop the network rankings by minutes watched, picking up 7.90% of watch-time — primarily via another Sunday NFL doubleheader, airing three games in the early afternoon slot and two in the late window. 

More insights around the most-watched networks from Oct. 18-24:

  • With the NBA back in action, ESPN, ABC and TNT all move up the rankings by total minutes watched. ABC jumps from No. 4 to No. 3, ESPN from No. 6 to No. 5, and TNT from No. 20 to No. 11 on the week.
  • Fox Sports 1 also makes a big leap via the final games of the ALCS, rocketing up from No. 24 during the week of Oct. 11-17, to No. 12 from Oct. 18-24.
  • The Hallmark Channel gets a head start on the holiday season with holiday-themed movies over the weekend, and as a result migrates up from No. 10 to No. 8 by watch-time.
  • The big four broadcast networks all top 5.5% of minutes watched on the week. After CBS with 7.9%, NBC collects 7.16%, ABC has 6.18% and Fox has 5.65% — all at least partially fueled by live sports.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent share duration Oct. 18-24

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. 

Week-seven NFL action serves up the most TV ad impressions, with 6.8 billion delivered from Oct. 18-24, despite sports fans getting pulled in a lot of different directions with so many live games on TV right now.

More data about the top programs by TV ad impressions during the week:

  • Sports make up the top four programs by impressions — with the NFL trailed by the MLB playoffs (3.9 billion), college football (3.6 billion) and the NBA (1.0 billion).
  • Soap operas are 20% of the top 20 programs by impressions, led by The Young and the Restless (No. 8), then General Hospital (No. 16), Days of Our Lives (No. 18) and The Bold and the Beautiful (No. 20).
  • The Voice accounts for 588 million TV ad impressions (No. 10), and is the only reality show among the top 25 programs this week.
  • The ALCS isn’t the only Fox Sports 1 program to deliver hundreds of millions of impressions around baseball; MLB on FS1 Postgame is also included in the top 25 (at No. 25).

TV shows by TV ad impressions Oct. 18-24

Football runs CBS out ahead yet again, as the network takes the top spot in this week’s ad-impressions-by-network ranking. Thanks in part to Sunday’s NFL doubleheader, CBS leads other networks by over 3 billion impressions on the week.

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions from Oct. 18-24:

  • NBC’s week is also well represented by football, as Sunday Night Football makes up 18.1% of impressions for the network. Football Night in America accounts for another 3.6%, and Saturday’s Notre Dame vs. USC game delivered 3.2%.
  • TBS and Fox Sports 1 are both top 10 networks by impressions courtesy of baseball’s NLCS and ALCS, respectively. 
  • Between the return of the NBA and hockey’s new part-time home on the network, TNT ad impressions increased nearly 5x week-over-week.

TV networks by TV ad impressions Oct. 18-24

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