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Top Rated Shows of 2017: Here’s How the Super Bowl, Oscars, ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ Faced Off

A comprehensive ranker of the Top 100 telecasts of 2017, according to adults 18-49, and the Top 50 telecasts by total viewers.

“This Is Us,” The Oscars, “Game of Thrones,” “The Big Bang Theory”

NBC/ABC/HBO/CBS

Bestof2017

Reports of the National Football League’s TV demise have been greatly exaggerated. The NFL dominated 2017’s ranker of the most-watched TV, taking up 27 of the slots on this year’s list of the top 100 telecasts (both broadcast and cable) among adults 18-49. That includes, of course, Super Bowl LI, which led the pack among adults 18-49 and total viewers.

Fueled by a thrilling come-from-behind win by the New England Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons — and the first-ever Super Bowl determined in overtime — the 51st Super Bowl averaged nearly 112 million total viewers, down just a tick from last year’s 112.6 million.

Beyond the Super Bowl, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” claimed 16 slots on the list of top-rated telecasts in 2017. That put it second among TV shows, behind only the Peacock network’s breakout drama “This Is Us,” which landed 18 spots on the top 100.

The NFL has seen some viewership drops, which triggered plenty of hand wringing about the potential reasons – including some who would blame the drop on players protesting police brutality. But the real root cause may be a bit more obvious: The overall continued decline of linear television ratings, as viewers find more choice and more abilities to watch TV elsewhere.

Just like the NFL, “The Walking Dead” is seeing its viewership dip, yet it is still a monster hit, claiming 15 slots in the top 100 telecasts ranker. Another show late in its run, CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” also continues to impress, with 12 episodes making it on to the year-end list.

ABC’s annual presentation of the Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was the top-rated and most-watched entertainment program of the year, averaging 34.1 million viewers and a 9.48 rating with adults 18-49. Other awards shows making the list: The Grammys and the Golden Globes.

All seven episodes of “Game of Thrones” Season 7 landed in the top 100 — an impressive feat, given that HBO is a premium network. “24: Legacy” (which premiered after the Super Bowl, of course), “Young Sheldon” and “Hunted” were the only new shows to reach the top 100 (as well as the reboot premiere of “Will & Grace”), while “Empire” lost steam and landed just one slot this yar.

Thanks to NFL Sunday Night Football and “This Is Us,” NBC claimed the most slots in the top 100, with 39, followed by CBS (24), AMC (15), HBO and ABC (7 each), Fox (6) and ESPN (2).

Here’s our ratings roundup of the year’s most-watched telecasts, according to different broadcast and cable measurements.

New England Patriots' Martellus Bennett (88) makes a reception against Atlanta Falcons' Keanu Neal (22) during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game, in HoustonPatriots Falcons Super Bowl Football, Houston, USA - 05 Feb 2017

Super Bowl LI

AP/REX/Shutterstock

TOP-RATED PRIMETIME TELECASTS OF 2017, ADULTS 18-49

The top 100 broadcast and cable primetime telecasts in 2017, overall by 18-49 (“most recent” data, which includes Live+7 DVR and VOD data):

RANK

SHOW & NETWORK

ADULT 18-49 RATING

AIRDATE

1

Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons Fox

37.30

2/5/2017

2

AFC Championship: New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers CBS

15.45

1/22/2017

3

 NFL Divisional Playoff: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs NBC  12.01

1/15/2017

4

The Oscars ABC

9.48

2/26/2017

5

NFL Divisional Playoff: New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans CBS

9.41

1/14/2017

6

NFL Sunday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants NBC

9.14

9/10/2017

7

NBA Finals Game 5: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

9.12

6/12/2017

8

NFL Playoff: Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions NBC

8.38

1/7/2017

9

Grammy Awards CBS

8.35

2/12/2017

10

World Series Game 7: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Fox

8.19

11/1/2017

tie

The Walking Dead (709: “Rock In The Road”) AMC

8.19

2/12/2017

12

College Football Championship: Clemson vs. Alabama ESPN

8.05

1/9/2017

 13

The Walking Dead (716: “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”) AMC

8.02

4/2/2017

 14

The Walking Dead (710: “New Best Friends”) AMC

7.87

2/19/2017

15

NFL Sunday Night Football: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots NBC

7.71

9/7/2017

16

The Walking Dead (711: “Hostiles and Calamities”) AMC

7.66

2/26/2017

17

NFL Sunday Night Football: Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions NBC

7.43

1/1/2017

 18

NBA Finals Game 3: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

7.29

6/7/2017

19

NBA Finals Game 2: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

7.18

6/4/2017

 20

NFL Sunday Night Football: Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers NBC

7.17

9/17/2017

21

The Walking Dead (801: “Mercy”) AMC

7.16

10/22/2017

22

NCAA Basketball Championship: North Carolina vs. Gonzaga CBS

7.14

4/3/2017

23

24: Legacy (101: “12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.”) Fox

7.10

2/5/2017

24

Game of Thrones (707: “The Dragon and the Wolf”) HBO

7.08

8/27/2017

 25

NFL Sunday Night Football: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys NBC

7.05

11/19/2017

26

The Walking Dead (712: “Say Yes”) AMC

7.02

3/5/2017

tie

The Walking Dead (715: “Something They Need”) AMC

7.02

3/26/2017

 28

NBA Finals Game 1: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

6.98

6/1/2017

 29

The Walking Dead (714: “The Other Side”) AMC

6.97

3/19/2017

30

NBA Finals Game 4: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

6.86

6/9/2017

31

The Walking Dead (713: “Bury Me Here”) AMC

6.85

3/12/2017

 32

Game of Thrones (705: “Eastwatch”) HBO

6.59

8/13/2017

33

NFL Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons  NBC

6.56

10/22/2017

 34

This Is Us (201: “A Father’s Advice”) NBC

6.50

9/26/2017

35

NFL Sunday Night Football: Seattle Seahawks vs. Philadelphia Eagles  NBC

 6.46

12/3/2017

36

NFL Sunday Night Football: Washington Redskins vs. Oakland Raiders  NBC

6.34

9/24/2017

 37

Game of Thrones (704: “The Spoils of War”) HBO

6.31

8/6/2017

 38

Game of Thrones (706: “Beyond the Wall”) HBO

6.30

8/20/2017

39

The Walking Dead (804: “Some Guy”) AMC

6.06

11/12/2017

40

World Series Game 6: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Fox

6.04

10/31/2017

 41

The Walking Dead (802: “The Damned”) AMC

6.01

10/29/2017

42

The Walking Dead (803: “Monsters”) AMC

5.99

11/05/2017

43

NFL Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers  NBC

5.98

11/26/2017

44

NFL Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos  NBC

5.86

11/12/2017

45

NFL Sunday Night Football: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans  NBC

5.85

10/8/2017

46

The Big Bang Theory (1101: “The Proposal Proposal”) CBS

5.84

9/25/2017

 47

NFL Sunday Night Football: Seattle Seahawks vs. Indianapolis Colts NBC

5.82

10/1/2017

48

Golden Globe Awards NBC

5.79

1/8/2017

 49

Game of Thrones (701: “Dragonstone”) HBO

5.78

7/16/2017

50

The Walking Dead (805: “The Big Scary U”) AMC

5.74

11/19/2017

51

The Walking Dead (806: “The King, The Widow, and Rick”) AMC

5.71

11/26/2017

52

Game of Thrones (703: “The Queen’s Justice”) HBO

5.68

7/30/2017

 53

Game of Thrones (702: “Stormborn”) HBO

5.65

7/23/2017

54

NFL Sunday Night Football: New York Giants vs. Denver Broncos NBC

5.60

10/15/2017

 55

NCAA March Madness Final Four: North Carolina vs. Oregon CBS

5.52

4/1/2017

56

This Is Us (111: “The Right Thing To Do”) NBC

5.51

1/10/2017

 57

This Is Us (202: “A Manny-Splendored Thing”) NBC

5.49

10/3/2017

58

The Big Bang Theory (1012: “The Holiday Summation”) CBS

5.47

1/5/2017

59

Young Sheldon (101: Pilot) CBS

5.46

9/25/2017

60

This Is Us (118: “Moonshadow”) NBC

5.33

3/14/2017

 61

This Is Us (117: “What Now?”) NBC

5.32

3/7/2017

 tie

World Series Game 5: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Fox

5.32

10/29/2017

63

The Big Bang Theory (1013: “The Romance Recalibration”) CBS

5.30

1/19/2017

 64

The Walking Dead (807: “Time For After”) AMC

5.22

12/3/2017

 65

This Is Us (113: “Three Sentences”) NBC

5.21

1/24/2017

 tie

This Is Us (204: “Still There”) NBC

5.21

10/17/2017

67

Oscars Red Carpet Preview Show ABC

5.19

2/26/2017

 68

This Is Us (112: “The Big Day”) NBC

5.11

1/17/2017

 69

NFL Sunday Night Football: Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants NBC

5.10

11/23/2017

70

NFL Monday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals ESPN

5.09

9/25/2017

 71

NFL Thursday Night Football: New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers CBS/NFL Network

5.07

10/5/2017

 72

This Is Us (205: “Brothers”) NBC

5.02

10/24/2017

 73

This Is Us (116: “Memphis”) NBC

5.01

2/21/2017

74

Will & Grace (901: “11 Years Later”) NBC

5.00

9/28/2017

 75

This Is Us (114: “I Call Marriage”) NBC

4.99

2/7/2017

 tie

This Is Us (203: “Deja Vu”) NBC

4.99

10/10/2017

 77

NFL Sunday Night Football: Oakland Raiders vs. Miami Dolphins NBC

4.98

11/5/2017

 78

The Big Bang Theory (1102: “The Retraction Reaction”) CBS

4.86

10/2/2017

79

This Is Us (207: “The Most Disappointed Man”) NBC

4.85

11/7/2017

 80

This Is Us (208: “Number One”) NBC

4.84

11/14/2017

 81

The Big Bang Theory (1015: “The Locomotion Reverberation”) CBS

4.83

2/9/2017

82

NFL Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Detroit Lions NBC

4.82

10/29/2017

 tie

NFL Thursday Night Football: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears CBS/NFL Network

4.82

9/28/2017

 84

The Big Bang Theory (1014: “The Emotion Detection Automation”) CBS

4.81

2/2/2017

85

NFL Thursday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins NBC/NFL Network

 4.77

11/30/2017

 tie

This Is Us (210: “Number Three”) NBC

4.77

11/28/2017

 87

This Is Us (115: “Jack Pearson’s Son”) NBC

4.75

2/14/2017

 88

The Big Bang Theory (1018: “The Escape Hatch Identification”) CBS

4.66

3/9/2017

 89

The Big Bang Theory (1017: “The Comic-Con Conundrum”) CBS

4.61

2/23/2017

 tie

NFL Thursday Night Football: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Carolina Panthers CBS/NFL Network

4.61

10/12/2017

 tie

NCAA March Madness Bridge CBS

4.61

4/1/2017

 92

NFL Thursday Night Football: Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs CBS/NFL Network

4.57

10/19/2017

93

Hunted (101: “The Internet Never Forgets”) CBS

4.56

1/22/2017

 94

This Is Us (209: “Number Two”) NBC

4.52

11/21/2017

tie

The Big Bang Theory (1103: “The Relaxation Integration”) CBS

4.52

10/9/2017

 tie

The Big Bang Theory (1106: “The Proton Regeneration”) CBS

4.52

11/2/2017

 97

The Big Bang Theory (1024: “The Long Distance Dissonance”) CBS

4.50

5/11/2017

98

Empire (310: “Sound & Fury”) Fox

 4.45

3/22/2017

 99

The Big Bang Theory (1104: “The Explosion Implosion”) CBS

4.40

10/16/2017

 100

This Is Us (206: “The 20’s”) NBC

4.39

10/31/2017

Source: Nielsen. All telecasts, most current ratings, excluding durations under 26 minutes (1/1/17-12/3/17)

MOST-WATCHED PRIMETIME TELECASTS OF 2017, TOTAL VIEWERS

The top 50 broadcast and cable telecasts in 2017, overall by total viewers (“most recent” data, which includes Live+7 DVR and VOD data):

 

RANK

SHOW & NETWORK

TOTAL VIEWERS

AIRDATE

1

Super Bowl LI: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons Fox

111,998,000

2/5/2017

2

AFC Championship: New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers CBS

48,070,000

1/22/2017

3

NFL Divisional Playoff: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs NBC

37,291,000

1/15/2017

4

The Oscars ABC

34,115,000

2/26/2017

5

NFL Divisional Playoff: New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans CBS

29,997,000

1/14/2017

6

World Series Game 7: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Fox

28,367,000

11/1/2017

7

Grammy Awards CBS

27,594,000

2/12/2017

8

NFL Playoff: Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions NBC

27,011,000

1/7/2017

9

NBA Finals Game 5: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

24,788,000

6/12/2017

10

College Football Championship: Clemson vs. Alabama ESPN

24,667,000

1/9/2017

11

NFL Sunday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants NBC

24,532,000

9/10/2017

12

NFL Sunday Night Football: Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions NBC

23,972,000

1/1/2017

13

NCAA Basketball Championship: North Carolina vs. Gonzaga CBS

23,261,000

4/3/2017

14

The Big Bang Theory (1101: “The Proposal Proposal”) CBS

23,079,000

9/25/2017

15

Young Sheldon (101: Pilot) CBS

22,461,000

9/25/2017

16

World Series Game 6: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Fox

22,372,000

10/31/2017

17

NFL Sunday Night Football: Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots NBC

21,973,000

9/7/2017

18

The Big Bang Theory (1012: “The Holiday Summation”) CBS

21,959,000

1/5/2017

19

NFL Sunday Night Football: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys NBC

21,198,000

11/19/2017

20

Oscars Red Carpet Preview Show ABC

21,069,000

2/26/2017

21

24: Legacy (101: “12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.”) Fox

20,945,000

2/5/2017

22

Golden Globe Awards NBC

20,756,000

1/8/2017

23

NBA Finals Game 3: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

20,352,000

6/7/2017

24

NFL Sunday Night Football: Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers NBC

20,350,000

9/17/2017

25

The Big Bang Theory (1013: “The Romance Recalibration”) CBS

20,116,000

1/19/2017

26

NBA Finals Game 2: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

19,902,000

6/4/2017

27

This Is Us (201: “A Father’s Advice”) NBC

19,874,000

9/26/2017

28

NFL Sunday Night Football: Seattle Seahawks vs. Philadelphia Eagles  NBC

19,802,000

12/3/2017

29

NCIS (1413: “Keep Going”) CBS

19,721,000

1/24/2017

30

NCIS (1411: “Willoughby”) CBS

19,450,000

1/3/2017

31

NFL Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons  NBC

19,391,000

10/22/2017

32

The Big Bang Theory (1014: “The Emotion Detection Automation”) CBS

19,313,000

2/2/2017

33

NBA Finals Game 4: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

19,312,000

6/9/2017

34

The Big Bang Theory (1106: “The Proton Regeneration”) CBS

19,287,000

11/2/2017

35

NCIS (1414: “Nonstop”) CBS

19,269,000

2/7/2017

36

The Big Bang Theory (1015: “The Locomotion Reverberation”) CBS

19,245,000

2/9/2017

37

The Good Doctor (101: Pilot – “Burnt Food”) ABC

19,211,000

9/25/2017

38

The Big Bang Theory (1102: “The Retraction Reaction”) CBS

19,180,000

10/2/2017

39

NCIS (1415: “Pandora’s Box, Part I”) CBS

19,115,000

2/14/2017

40

NFL Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers  NBC

19,075,000

11/26/2017

41

World Series Game 5: Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Fox

19,057,000

10/29/2017

42

NBA Finals Game 1: Golden State Warriors vs.Cleveland Cavaliers ABC

19,056,000

6/1/2017

43

NCAA March Madness Final Four: North Carolina vs. Oregon CBS

18,914,000

4/1/2017

44

NCIS (1412: “Off The Grid”) CBS

18,816,000

1/17/2017

45

The Big Bang Theory (1107: “The Geology Methodology”) CBS

18,559,000

11/9/2017

46

The Big Bang Theory (1109: “The Bitcoin Entanglement”) CBS

18,541,000

11/30/2017

47

NCIS (1416: “A Many Splendored Thing”) CBS

18,330,000

2/21/2017

48

The Big Bang Theory (1017: “The Comic-Con Conundrum”) CBS

18,322,000

2/23/2017

49

The Big Bang Theory (1108: “The Tesla Recoil”) CBS

18,283,000

11/16/2017

50

The Good Doctor (103: “Oliver”) ABC

18,224,000

10/9/2017

Source: Nielsen. All telecasts, most current ratings, excluding durations under 26 minutes (1/1/17-12/3/17)

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