NBC’s Sunday Night Football is primetime’s No. 1 show as the 2016-17 TV season officially ended Wednesday night – tying the show it replaced in the top spot, Fox’s American Idol, with its sixth consecutive win.
SNF ruled in viewers with 20.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen stats. The football broadcast also won in the key 18-49 demographic group for a seventh consecutive TV season.
NBC took the 2016-17 TV season for third time in four years – the first time in five years any network has finished on top without the Super Bowl, or even an Olympics. CBS wound up the country’s most-watched network, hanging on to its crown for a ninth consecutive season – and 14 of the past 15.
NBC completes the traditional primetime TV season having launched two of the season’s top 10 new series in adults 18-49, tied with ABC. CBS and Fox each launched three.
NBC’s tally includes the top new series, This Is Us (4.6 rating), which was the prettiest dress in the shop at the NBC-cum-Comcast upfront presentation last week.
CBS’ Bull, meanwhile, closed out the season as the most watched of the freshman broadcast crop, averaging 15.12M viewers, followed by This Is Us‘s 14.76M.
It’s unclear whether Fox’s 24: Legacy will be the top freshman show, demo-wise, to get pink-slipped. If so, blame Broadway. The Great White Way is where reboot star Corey Hawkins is onstage in Six Degrees of Separation, and that’s stopped the clock on more 24 for now, Fox co-chairman and CEO Gary Newman said last week. More 24 could be “in the mix,” but his “schedule won’t allow consideration for the fall.”
Meanwhile, CBS sitcom The Great Indoors is the most watched freshman series not to get a second-season pickup. It averaged 8.39M viewers, after failing to pass the test of two trial airings on Monday, or hang on to its sizable The Big Bang Theory lead-in on Thursdays.
ABC’s Last Man Standing is the most watched long-running casualty of the season; the network pulled the plug on the multi-camera comedy series after six seasons, triggering star Tim Allen to tweet: “Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years.”
ABC opted not to renew the longtime Friday 8 PM anchor for Season 7 despite it being the network’s second-most watched comedy series this season with an average of 8.1 million viewers, behind only Modern Family (8.7 million), and the third-most watched ABC scripted series, trailing only Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family. Allen’s show, produced by 20th Century Fox, fell victim to the net’s decision to discontinue its Friday comedy strategy, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said.
Here are the top series in the demo, followed by total viewers.
2016-2017 RANKINGS – 18-49 DEMO
2016-2017 RANKINGS – TOTAL VIEWERS
SOURCE: Nielsen; Sept. 19, 2016-May 24, 2017