With three days left in the February sweeps, CBS looks certain to top the period for the first time in 15 years. Tracking from January 31-February 24, the network is poised to win in the adults 18-49 demo with a 4.3/12 rating. CBS’ results are well ahead of No. 2 ABC’s 2.2/06 and third place Fox’s 2.0/06. With a 1.2/03, NBC looks set to finish a historic fifth after Univision in the sweep for the first time.
With big-ticket items like the Super Bowl and the Grammys propelling the ratings this month, the network’s anticipated victory was not unexpected. However, it is the first time CBS has taken the top spot in the sweep since 1998, when it broadcast the Winter Olympics.
Hobbled by duds like the now-cancelled Do No Harm, a cratering Smash and ratings that have rarely topped a 2.0 except for The Biggest Loser and The Office, NBC fell 67% in the key demo from last year’s sweeps. Even with the strength of American Idol, Fox was down 17% in thanks to weak performers like the now returned Touch. Oscar broadcaster ABC, who has suffered with a weak showing from freshman Zero Hour, dipped 4% in the 18-49 demo.
Even with the bomb of the quickly canned reality show The Job, CBS is up 54% in the demo over last year, when it tied for the No. 2 spot with Fox. NBC took top spot with a 4.0 in February 2012 thanks in part to carrying that year’s Super Bowl. This year, CBS was fueled by the Super Bowl on February 3 and the Grammys on February 10, but it also saw solid performances from NCIS and The Big Bang Theory. With the exception of Sunday’s Oscars and the Oscars Red Carpet show, CBS had all the Top 10 broadcasts of the sweeps in the demo and in total viewers. Super Bowl XLVII predictably topped the list.