The first full week of the May sweep saw Fox’s supremacy at the top of the weekly network demographic heap come to an end. After two weeks in second place, CBS moved up to tie the News Corp-owned broadcaster in adults 18-49. For Week 32 of the 2012-13 TV season, both Fox and CBS received a 1.9/6 in the key demo, according to Nielsen. That’s even with the last two weeks for Fox, and a lift up from the previous frame’s 1.7/5 for CBS. It’s actually kind of a win and a half for CBS for the April 29-May 5 frame as it took the No. 1 viewership spot for a ninth week in a row with 9.128 million watching. Pushing NBC’s The Voice into second place, CBS also had the top show last week in the demo with May 2’s The Big Bang Theory (4.9). April 29 and April 30’s The Voice came in second and third with 4.3 and 3.9, respectively, in the demo. After moving The Voice out of the top viewership spot the previous week, another new NCIS easily held on for another week with 18.289 million viewers for its April 30 broadcast. In fact, besides ABC’s April 29 Dancing With The Stars taking third place among viewers for the frame, CBS had the top five most-watched shows in Week 32.
CBS boss Les Moonves told CNBC last week that the network was feeling “pretty cocky” about their ratings and viewership results this season. That’s understandable: As I pointed out a few weeks back, it seems pretty certain that CBS will see yet another viewership win this year and that it will also end Fox’s almost decade-long hold on the demo title. With just a couple of weeks left in the season, CBS will win 18-49 for the first time since George H. W. Bush was President — the 1991-1992 season. With the Winter Olympics on the network that year, CBS finished with a 7.8 in the demo, with ABC close behind with a 7.7. As the loquacious Moonves and others at CBS will undoubtedly brag about during the upfronts next week, this season will see CBS become the first network to simultaneously top viewership and the key demo since Fox held the twin prize back in 2007-2008, the year of the writers’ strike. It should also be noted that the duel win five years ago for Fox was during a season when American Idol was a ratings Goliath and the network had both Super Bowl XLII and NFC Championship Game. Along with its robust dramas and slam-dunkers like BBT, CBS had the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XLVIII this season. Before anyone uses the word “streak,” let’s not forget Fox has the Super Bowl in February 2014, with NBC broadcasting the big game in 2015 before CBS gets it again in 2016.
This sweep week saw everyone loading up their schedules with originals, debuts and finales. It also saw some blood on the tracks for everyone. Last week had Idol hit a new all-time regularly scheduled show low; The Voice fall to a season low; and DWTS, NCIS: LA and CSI stumble to series lows among others. That’s the shows, here’s the numbers: With Fox and CBS tied for No. 1 in the demo, NBC (1.8/5) and ABC (1.6/5) both up to second and third place, respectively. Viewership-wise,things stayed pretty much the same as the previous frame in terms of ranking as everybody’s number rose. CBS was in first place, with ABC (6.672 million) second, Fox (5.983 million) third and despite rolling the dice with three nights of The Voice, NBC (5.561 million) was fourth. Compared to the same frame in the 2011-2012 season only NBC saw a ratings rise among the networks, up 13% from the 1.6 it had for the week starting on April 30, 2012. In terms of viewers, everyone was down from the pervious year’s comparable frame with ABC taking the hardest fall of 13% just in front of Fox’s 12% fall and CBS’ and NBC’s 9% slide.
Season-to-date, the viewership and 18-49 demo ranking stays the same as the previous frame. CBS (11.94 million viewers on average) is in first, followed by ABC (7.81 million), Fox (7.1 million) and NBC (6.98 million). Just like the previous frame’s season-to-date results, CBS is also tops in the demo with 2.9/8, followed by Fox’s 2.5/7, NBC’s 2.4/7 and ABC’s 2.2/6. Interestingly, if you took away NBC’s stellar NFL numbers from the fall, the last two spots would flip; ABC leads NBC by 10% for the season among 18-49 in non-sports broadcast with a 2.2 ratings to NBC’s 2.0. Of course, a three-night spread of live Voice episodes on NBC could challenge that.