Surprise, Surprise: NBC Wins Another Season in TV Ratings

NBC has now won the 52-week TV season in ratings among adults 18-49 eight out of the past nine years.
AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- “Finale Results” Episode 1720 -- Pictured: Chapel Hart -- (Photo by: Casey Durkin/NBC)
AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- “Finale Results” Episode 1720 -- Pictured: Chapel Hart
Casey Durkin/NBC

Copy and paste if you’ve written this one before: NBC has won the 52-week TV season in ratings among adults 18-49, the demographic most-coveted by advertisers, according to Nielsen. It is the second-straight such victory; NBC has now won an impressive eight of the past nine years. (NBC was runner-up in the 2019-20 season to Fox.)

NBC averaged a 0.9 primetime rating among the 18-49 age range, besting Fox’s 0.8. ABC and CBS both had 0.7s. (NBC also ranked No. 1 among adults 18-34 and 25-54.)

In terms of total viewers, NBC was second. CBS averaged 5.3 million to NBC’s 5.2 million; ABC drew 3.9 million viewers per night and Fox got 3.7 million. CBS has now won in total viewers for the past 12 out of 15 September-to-September seasons; NBC had the Olympics each of the three years CBS was not tops in viewers.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was the top broadcast series overall for the 11th straight season. Other highlights for the network include the final season of “This Is Us,” which was the top-rated broadcast entertainment series of the year. “Saturday Night Live” was No. 2. Other highlights for the network included newcomer “La Brea” and its powerful “One Chicago” lineup.

Traditionally, Nielsen measured the television season as running from September to May. The summer was typically set aside for reruns. That’s not quite the case anymore, and June, July, and August are now a mix of encores and originals; there are even hit summer series, like NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Networks are split on what they consider the “season” — that decision pretty much boils down to what suits them individually. With “AGT” and the Summer Olympics every four years, NBC focuses on the full 12-month calendar.

“NBC remains best in class in broadcast as well as being a vital pillar of our diversified portfolio,” Frances Berwick, the chairman of entertainment networks at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said in a press release on Monday. “As we begin our new season and look toward the future, NBC continues to lead the pack across programming genres in the ever-expanding television landscape.”

“NBC’s lineup has always had a strong and emotional connection with viewers,” Susan Rovner, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming’s chairman of entertainment content, added. “We’re extremely proud of this #1 ranking, which is a testament to the hard work of the producers, cast and everyone who all work exceedingly hard to create quality programming for our loyal audience all-year round.”

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