TV By the Numbers: NBC Teams with Football To Win Network Watch-Time Battle; CBS, Alabama Football and the NFL Take Ad Impressions Title

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 3, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Image credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 3, shining a spotlight on 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).

Four weeks into the NFL season, the league continues to dominate watch-time on TV, with 6.86% of minutes watched during the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 3.

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • College football is the second-most-watched, increasing watch-time from 3.43% to 3.76% week-over-week.
  • NCIS: New Orleans moves up from No. 20 to No. 25 on the week.
  • Chicago Fire’s new season keeps pushing the show up the ranking, leaping from No. 23 to No. 16 week-over-week.
  • Blue Bloods’ season 12 premiere leads to a migration from No. 27 to No. 23 from Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
  • Of the 25 most-watched shows of the week, six are procedurals (with police, fire or Western settings).

Also Read: Fall 2021 TV Premiere Dates

Most-watched shows on TV by percent share duration Sept. 27-Oct. 3

NBC remains at No. 1 for the week, with 8.76% of minutes watched thanks to Sunday Night Football, Saturday’s Notre Dame vs. Cincinnati game, and the continued momentum of the fall primetime lineup.

More insights around the most-watched networks from Sept. 27-Oct. 3:

  • CBS, ABC, Fox and ESPN complete the list of top five networks by minutes watched, courtesy of (to little surprise) football, with all airing both college and NFL games during the week.
  • Freeform shoots up the charts week-over-week from No. 41 to No. 25, courtesy of a variety of Halloween-centric movies.
  • Other networks increasing their share of minutes watched week-over-week: Hallmark, NFL Network, USA Network, TV Land and History.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent share duration Sept. 21-Oct. 3

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.

The NFL serves up the most TV ad impressions once again, with over 7.7 billion from Sept. 27-Oct. 3.

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

  • College football is No. 2 yet again, delivering nearly 4.4 billion TV ad impressions across a slew of networks and games airing from Thursday through Saturday.
  • Soap operas make a good showing among the top programs by ad impressions, grabbing four spots in the top 25 (including The Young and the Restless at No. 6).
  • The Voice continues its strong showing for NBC in week four, delivering almost 610 million TV ad impressions, which ranks No. 7 overall.
  • Major League Baseball wrapped up the last week of the regular season with 465 million TV ad impressions — 16th amongst all programming from Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
  • With a week to go in the season, Bachelor in Paradise clocks in at No. 25 by impressions for the week, with over 380 million.

TV shows by TV ad impressions Sept. 21-Oct. 3

CBS remains No. 1 in this week’s ad-impressions-by-network ranking, after another week of NFL action, plus a top-20 matchup between Alabama football and Ole Miss, helping lead the way to almost 11.3 billion impressions.

Additional insights around the top networks by impressions from Sept. 27-Oct. 3:

  • NBC rides Notre Dame football and Tom Brady’s return to New England on Sunday Night Football to over 8.9 billion TV ad impressions on the week.
  • Cable news networks continue to deliver more impressions than most of their cable counterparts, as Fox News, MSNBC and CNN are all among the top 10 overall from Sept. 27-Oct. 3.
  • It’s an action-packed time on the sports calendar right now, and sports-focused cable networks are delivering more impressions as a result. Six of the top 25 networks this week are cable sports networks.

TV networks by TV ad impressions Sept. 21-Oct. 3

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