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These Are the 100 Most-Watched TV Shows of the 2017-18 Season: Winners and Losers

Our complete season-long ratings ranker of the top 100 shows on broadcast and cable TV, from September 2017 to May 2018.

ROSEANNE - ABC's "Roseanne" stars Ames McNamara as Mark, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Emma Kenney as Harris Conner, Jayden Rey as Mary, Roseanne Barr as Roseanne Conner, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner, John Goodman as Dan Conner, Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner, and Sarah Chalke as Andrea. (ABC/Robert Trachtenberg)

“Roseanne”

ABC/Robert Trachtenberg

If there was a recurring theme during the recent broadcast network upfronts, it was this: Ratings must die. “We are in a new era of media and it’s time to retire the Nielsen television metric,” Turner president David Levy said. “While it undoubtedly served its purpose, it no longer fully captures how to successfully measure an audience in today’s landscape.”

Of course, complaining about Nielsen and traditional ratings is nothing new. And these days, virtually every outlet has embraced its own version of multi-platform program measurement — including TV, DVR, VOD and streaming viewership. Levy pointed to audience targeting and other methods as better ways of selling their wares. At the NBCUniversal upfront, ad sales chairman Linda Yaccarino pushed the company’s new “CFlight” metric.

“I still cannot believe I have to get up this stage and talk about legacy measurement,” Yaccarino said, dismissing the current “C3” standard (which measures three days worth of commercial viewing). When the C3 was introduced in 2007, she quipped, “Meghan Markle was on ‘Deal Or No Deal.’”

Nonetheless, getting everyone on the same page remains difficult. Rob Tuck, The CW’s executive vice president of national sales, notes that ad agencies are reluctant to completely get rid of tools that include Nielsen ratings.

“I have a hard time believing that the agency side and client side of this business is going to give up the currency and pricing that they’ve had for a very long time,” Tuck told reporters on an upfronts conference call. “That’s a challenge on both sides. But I don’t see that going away anytime soon.”

Tuck added: “We have been as vocal with Nielsen and the frustrations we have. We’ve been looking at the multiplatform and bringing it together for a long time… if business can figure out the ratings and currency in some form across a multi-platform distribution, you can layer on top of that all of the other stuff everyone’s been talking about.”

Ratings are also still the best way to compare the linear performance of shows both on broadcast and cable. And with another TV season drawing to a close, IndieWire looked at the Season-to-Date rankers for broadcast and cable, using the most recent Live+7 ratings (which include seven days’ worth of DVR and video on-demand usage).

Here’s a final look at some of the hits and misses of 2017–2018, followed by our complete list of the most-watched shows of the season, according to both adults 18-49 and total viewers.

HIGHS

Roseanne”: The story of the year, “Roseanne” was tops among both adults 18-49 (knocking out “The Walking Dead”) and total viewers (ending the dominance of “Sunday Night Football”). The return of the Roseanne Barr sitcom after two decades was expected to attract some interest, but the show’s tremendous opening — averaging 27.3 million viewers after seven days of DVR and VOD usage — still surprised. The show has obviously dropped since then, but the impact was swift, as talk of a shift toward more multi-camera sitcoms dominated the lead-up to the upfronts, and “middle America” became a hot topic — leading Fox to dust off the cancelled “Last Man Standing” for next season. “I do feel like there is a lot of interest right now in the four-camera, multi-cam show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said. “We at ABC have not had as much success with that traditionally than some of our competitors. I think ‘Roseanne’ changed the game for us in that respect.”

“The Good Doctor,” “Young Sheldon” and “9-1-1”: Who says broadcast TV is dead? A year after “This Is Us” gave NBC and the traditional networks a shot in the arm, ABC, CBS and Fox got their own freshman success stories. “The Good Doctor” was the year’s top-rated new drama and “Young Sheldon” the biggest new comedy, while “9-1-1” came on strong in midseason, giving Fox its new highest-rated show. As for “This Is Us,” the show actually grew year-to-year (5.4 rating vs. 4.8), thanks to a plum slot behind the Super Bowl. That made “This Is Us” the top-rated drama overall this season, leapfrogging over “The Walking Dead.”

“Jersey Shore Family Reunion”: Nostalgia was big business this year, and not just “Roseanne.” NBC’s “Will & Grace” revival ended the season in the top 15, and ABC’s “American Idol” won over skeptics by performing respectably. But who knew there was such a hunger to see more of Snooki, J-Woww and the Situation? Apparently MTV did, and it paid off: “Jersey Shore Reunion” ended the season at No. 39 among adults 18-49, behind only “The Walking Dead,” “American Horror Story” and football as the top-rated cable program of the season.

LOWS

“The Walking Dead,” “Empire,” “American Crime Story”: Phenoms can’t stay phenoms forever. The AMC zombie thriller still has bite, but it’s not as potent. “The Walking Dead” ended the season with a 5.3 rating among adults 18-49 — huge, but also a huge dip from last year’s 8.0 (and 9.6 the year before that). “Creatively, we are doing some different things in Season 9,” AMC programming president David Madden said. “Season 9 takes a big time jump. There are a lot of new situations that propel us into a very different tone. You look across the board at ratings, every show is dropping from where it used to be. But we’re still looking at big numbers, so we’re hoping for a long future with ‘The Walking Dead.'” As for FX’s “Empire,” the show continues to perform, but at a 2.8 rating, was down from last year’s 4.3, and the previous year’s 6.6. And the second installment of FX’s “American Crime Story,” “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” couldn’t quite capture the tremendous audience of the first. While “The People v. O.J. Simpson” hit the top 20 in the 2015-2016 season with a 3.1 rating, the sequel averaged a 1.0.

“Designated Survivor,” “Kevin Can Wait,” “The Brave”: These shows get the dubious distinction of being the highest-rated shows among adults 18-49 that were ultimately canceled. All three shows (interestingly, one from each network: ABC, CBS, and NBC, respectively) averaged a 1.6 rating in the demo. (Fox hasn’t yet made a determination on “Ghosted,” which also averaged a 1.6 and could still join this list.) “The Brave” was cut after one season, while “Designated Survivor” and “Kevin Can Wait” were put out of their misery after hobbling through two seasons and many on-screen and behind-the-scene changes. “Designated Survivor,” which averaged a 2.9 rating last year, went through showrunner shuffles, while “Kevin Can Wait” (2.2 last year) killed a mother.

“The X-Files”: The truth is here. The return of Mulder and Scully was huge in 2016, making it one of that season’s top-rated shows (4.8 rating). This time around, the novelty had worn off: The second return of “The X-Files” averaged just a 1.4 rating. Star Gillian Anderson has said she is ready to move on and won’t return for any more, and Fox seemed to agree.

Marvel: The movie juggernaut still hasn’t been able to translate that success on TV — or at least to broadcast. (We still have no idea how the Netflix shows are doing.) “Marvel’s Inhumans” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” both tied at a 1.2 rating, barely making it into the top 100. “Inhumans,” which was canceled after one season, actually averaged more viewers last year than “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” That may be one reason “S.H.I.E.L.D.” won’t be back until summer 2019.

Here are the top series rankers according to adults 18-49 and total viewers, featuring seven days of time-shifted viewing. Most recent data is through May 14; these ratings will be updated as new numbers come in.

THIS IS US "Vegas, Baby" Episode 216 -- Pictured: (l-r) Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

“This Is Us”

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

TOP 100 SHOWS OF 2017-2018, ADULTS 18-49

America’s most-watched series of the 2017-2018 season in the key advertising demographic (measured in ratings points) are …

1

Roseanne ABC

6.2

tie

NFL Sunday Night Football NBC

6.2

3

This Is Us NBC

5.4

4

The Walking Dead AMC

5.3

5

NFL Thursday Night Football CBS/NFL Network

4.5

6

The Big Bang Theory CBS

4.4

7

NFL Thursday Night Football NBC/NFL Network

4.0

8

The Good Doctor ABC

3.6

tie

Monday Night Football ESPN

3.6

10

Young Sheldon CBS

3.4

tie

Grey’s Anatomy ABC

3.4

12

9-1-1 Fox

3.0

13

Modern Family ABC

2.9

14

Will & Grace NBC

2.8

tie

 Empire Fox

2.8

16

The Voice (Monday) NBC

2.6

tie

American Horror Story FX

2.6

18

The Voice (Tuesday) NBC

2.4

tie

 Survivor CBS

2.4

tie

The Bachelor ABC

2.4

21

Ellen’s Game of Games NBC

2.3

tie

The Orville Fox

2.3

23

 NCIS CBS

2.2

tie

Chicago PD NBC

2.2

tie

American Idol (Sunday) ABC

2.2

tie

Law & Order: SVU NBC

2.2

27

Chicago Med NBC

2.1

tie

Chicago Fire NBC

2.1

tie

Scandal ABC

2.1

tie

The Goldbergs ABC

2.1

31

Mom CBS

2.0

tie

Criminal Minds CBS

2.0

tie

American Idol (Monday) ABC

2.0

tie

The Middle ABC

2.0

tie

How to Get Away with Murder ABC

2.0

tie

Splitting Up Together ABC

2.0

tie

The Gifted NBC

2.0

38

Bull CBS

1.9

tie

American Housewife ABC

1.9

tie

The Good Place NBC

1.9

tie

Star Fox

1.9

tie

Jersey Show Family Vacation MTV

1.9

43

Dancing with the Stars ABC

1.8

tie

Seal Team CBS

1.8

tie

S.W.A.T. NBC

1.8

tie

Station 19 ABC

1.8

tie

The Amazing Race CBS

1.8

tie

The Resident Fox

1.8

tie

Black-ish ABC

1.8

tie

Fear the Walking Dead AMC

1.8

tie

The Simpsons Fox

1.8

tie

Family Guy Fox

1.8

53

Life in Pieces CBS

1.7

tie

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders NBC

1.7

tie

Saturday Night Football ABC

1.7

56

NCIS: New Orleans CBS

1.6

tie

60 Minutes CBS

1.6

tie

Hawaii Five-0 CBS

1.6

tie

The Blacklist NBC

1.6

tie

Designated Survivor ABC

1.6

tie

Kevin Can Wait CBS

1.6

tie

The Brave NBC

1.6

tie

Lethal Weapon Fox

1.6

tie

Speechless ABC

1.6

tie

Superstore NBC

1.6

tie

Ghosted Fox

1.6

tie

Talking Dead AMC

1.6

68

Blue Bloods CBS

1.5

tie

NCIS:Los Angeles NBC

1.5

tie

Scorpion NBC

1.5

tie

Good Girls NBC

1.5

tie

Shark Tank (9 p.m.) ABC

1.5

tie

The Flash The CW

1.5

tie

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta 7 VH1

1.5

75

The X-Files Fox

1.4

tie

Shark Tank (10 p.m.) ABC

1.4

tie

Fresh Off the Boat ABC

1.4

tie

The Four Fox

1.4

tie

Gotham Fox

1.4

tie

Real Housewives of Atlanta Bravo

1.4

tie

Bob’s Burgers Fox

1.4

tie

Teen Mom MTV

1.4

83

Man with a Plan CBS

1.3

tie

Me, Myself & I CBS

1.3

tie

Lucifer Fox

1.3

tie

Masterchef Junior Fox

1.3

tie

Hell’s Kitchen Fox

1.3

tie

Gold Rush Discovery

1.3

tie

The Mick Fox

1.3

tie

Brooklyn Nine-Nine Fox

1.3

tie

Love & Hip-Hop 8 VH1

1.3

tie

South Park Comedy Central

1.3

93

MacGyver CBS

1.2

tie

Wisdom of the Crowd CBS

1.2

tie

The Crossing ABC

1.2

tie

9JKL CBS

1.2

tie

Better Late Than Never NBC

1.2

tie

The Wall NBC

1.2

tie

Deception ABC

1.2

tie

Blindspot NBC

1.2

tie

Timeless NBC

1.2

tie

Curse of Oak Island History

1.2

tie

Marvel’s Inhumans ABC

1.2

tie

The Mayor NBC

1.2

tie

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC

1.2

tie

WWE Entertainment USA

1.2

tie

L.A. to Vegas Fox

1.2

tie

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Bravo

1.2

tie

The Last Man on Earth Fox

1.2

tie

Westworld HBO

1.2

tie

New Girl Fox

1.2

tie

Love & Hip-Hop Miami VH1

1.2

Source: Preliminary Live+7 Day, Prime, Original telecasts only, excludes FOX and CBS daytime football. Cable programs that premiered on or after 8/28/17 included (through Top 200, A18-49), Excl: Repeats, Specials, Movies and Pre/Post Sports, Post-Season Sports (i.e. playoffs), shows with fewer than five telecasts.

“The Big Bang Theory”

CBS

TOP 100 SHOWS OF 2017-2018, TOTAL VIEWERS

America’s most-watched series of the 2017-2018 season are …

1

Roseanne ABC

21,169

2

The Big Bang Theory CBS

18,897

3

NFL Sunday Night Football NBC

18,285

4

This Is Us NBC

17,438

5

NCIS CBS

17,097

6

The Good Doctor ABC

16,722

7

Young Sheldon CBS

16,485

8

Bull CBS

14,533

9

 NFL Thursday Night Football CBS/NFL Network

14,230

10

NFL Thursday Night Football NBC/NFL Network

13,583

11

Blue Bloods CBS

13,293

12

NCIS: New Orleans CBS

12,637

13

The Voice (Monday) NBC

12,035

14

The Walking Dead AMC

11,813

15

60 Minutes CBS

11,694

16

The Voice (Tuesday) NBC

11,630

17

Hawaii Five-0 CBS

11,311

18

Dancing with the Stars ABC

11,230

19

Grey’s Anatomy ABC

11,116

20

Mom CBS

11,086

21

NFL Monday Night Football ESPN

10,767

22

 NCIS: Los Angeles CBS

10,765

23

9-1-1 Fox

10,746

24

Chicago Med NBC

10,543

25

Chicago PD NBC

10,495

26

 Survivor CBS

10,471

27

Seal Team CBS

10,200

28

 Instinct CBS

10,164

29

Chicago Fire NBC

9,997

30

American Idol (Sunday) ABC

9,677

31

Criminal Minds CBS

9,585

32

 S.W.A.T. CBS

9,453

33

American Idol (Monday) ABC

9,447

34

Ellen’s Game of Games NBC

9,195

35

Madam Secretary CBS

9,116

36

Modern Family ABC

8,918

37

Law & Order: SVU NBC

8,858

38

Will & Grace NBC

8,855

39

The Blacklist NBC 

8,687

40

MacGyver CBS

8,595

41

Wisdom of the Crowd CBS

8,508

42

Life in Pieces CBS

8,453

43

Scorpion CBS

8,376

44

Designated Survivor ABC

8,358

45

Code Black CBS

8,238

46

Empire Fox

8,073

47

The Bachelor ABC

7,927

48

Station 19 ABC

7,869

49

The Middle ABC

7,727

50

The Amazing Race CBS

7,702

tie

Kevin Can Wait CBS

7,702

52

Brave NBC

7,683

53

The Resident Fox

7,441

54

Scandal ABC

7,406

55

The Orville Fox

7,307

56

The Goldbergs ABC

7,222

57

Little Big Shots NBC

7,189

58

Man With a Plan CBS

6,918

59

Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders NBC

6,728

60

Lethal Weapon Fox

6,666

61

The Crossing ABC

6,601

62

American Housewife ABC

6,517

63

How to Get Away with Murder ABC

6,424

64

Splitting Up Together ABC

6,376

65

9JKL CBS

6,253

66

Better Late Than Never NBC

6,201

67

Me, Myself & I CBS

6,130

68

Rise NBC

6,084

69

Good Girls NBC

6,070

70

Superior Donuts CBS

6,019

71

The Wall NBC

6,003

72

Black-ish ABC

5,942

73

The Gifted Fox

5,919

74

Deception ABC

5,912

75

America’s Funniest Home Videos (7 p.m.) ABC

5,910

76

The Good Place NBC

5,784

77

Shark Tank (9 p.m.) ABC

5,771

78

Saturday Night Football ABC

5,764

79

Dateline Friday NBC

5,751

80

Speechless ABC

5,510

81

Star Fox

5,504

82

America’s Funniest Home Videos (8 p.m.) ABC

5,419

83

Blindspot NBC

5,345

84

The X-Files Fox

5,337

85

Living Biblically CBS

5,072

86

Shark Tank (10 p.m.) ABC

5,047

87

Lucifer Fox

4,983

88

American Horror Story FX

4,970

89

Superstore NBC

4,876

90

Fresh Off the Boat ABC

4,774

91

For the People ABC

4,686

92

48 Hours CBS

4,679

93

Timeless NBC

4,619

94

Masterchef Junior Fox

4,578

95

Fear the Walking Dead AMC

4,551

96

Dateline Sunday NBC

4,394

97

Taken NBC

4,383

98

Fixer Upper HGTV

4,349

99

Child Support ABC

4,346

100

Hell’s Kitchen Fox

4,298

In millions. Source: Preliminary Live+7 Day, Prime, Original telecasts only, excludes FOX and CBS daytime football. Cable programs that premiered on or after 8/28/17 included (through Top 200, A18-49), Excl: Repeats, Specials, Movies and Pre/Post Sports, Post-Season Sports (i.e. playoffs), shows with fewer than five telecasts.

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