NBC will finish the 2017-18 TV season at No. 1 in the key 18-49 demographic group, marking its fourth win in five years. With three nights left to count in the traditional TV season, NBC will bag the biggest percentage win of any network in the demo in people-meter history.
CBS takes another victory lap as the country’s most watched network, hanging on to that crown for a 10th consecutive season, and 15 of the past 16.
But ABC Roseanne return, after a two-decade hiatus, was the story of the 2017-18 TV season – it being the highest rated “new” series, with a season average 5.1 demo rating that falls behind only Sunday football (6.1) and NBC’s This Is Us (5.4) for the season.
Roseanne also is the most watched “new” series overall, in a season that redefined words such as “new” and “canceled.” Fox axed Brooklyn Nine-Nine at the end of the season, only to have it “rescued” by NBC days later, while Fox announced plans to jump-start one of last season’s highest rated canceled series Last Man Standing.
That said, it appears ABC’s Scandal’s, which retired this spring with a season average of 2.1, was the top-rated series to be scrubbed, ahead of ABC’s retiring The Middle at a 1.9. On the flip side, CBS’s Elementary is the lowest rated returning series with a 0.6 rating.
CBS’s total-viewer season win was a squeaker. NBC had the Super Bowl and Olympics during the season, and overtook CBS after those two sports events. But CBS climbed back to top spot just in time for CBS Entertainment chief Kelly Kahl to make the announcement at one of the most exuberant broadcast Upfront presentations in years.
But NBC is not conceding that race. NBC Entertainment chair Bob Greenblatt predicted when the numbers are in for the full September-to-September year, NBC will have returned to the top spot in total viewers on the strength of its biggest unscripted hit, America’s Got Talent.
As things stand now, NBC takes the traditional September-May season in the demo, with a 2.2 rating, while CBS, ABC and ABC tie at 1.5, ahead of CW’s 0.6.
In total viewers, CBS’s 9.0 million viewer average inched out NBC’s 8.9M, but ran a lap ahead of ABC’s 6.1M, Fox’s 4.9M and CW’s 1.7M.
CBS’s The Big Bang Theory repeats as the season’s most watched TV series with an average of 18.4M viewers, besting NBC’s Sunday football (18.3M).
But Roseanne was the prettiest dress in the TV shop this season. On the back of Roseanne, ABC jumped from last season’s 4th place finish to a three-way tie for No. 2 joining CBS and Fox. ABC had been on track for another 4th place finish when Olympics wrapped in February, before popping in the spring.
ABC instead wrapped the season with its most competitive finish in a decade. For nerds, that’s the 2007-08 season when Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey’s Anatomy were hitting their strides.This season, in addition to Roseanne being the top new series of the season in both key metrics, ABC’s The Good Doctor finishes as the season’s top new drama in both total viewers and the demo.
Anticipating the annual navel lint gazing about the impact of Super Bowl and Olympics, NBC would have taken the season’s demo win excluding both franchises. In total viewers, NBC enjoyed its most competitive finish in 16 years, giving CBS that last-minute win.
NBC is the first network in a decade to take a season in men, women and adults in 18-49 as well as 18-34 and 25-54. American Idol-fueled Fox last accomplished that feat for the 2007-08 TV season, at the height of American Idol.
2017-2018 PRIMETIME NETWORK AVERAGES
Network…Rating (% change from 2016-17)
Fox…1.5 (-21%, network had the Super Bowl last season)
Network…Rating (% change from 2016-17)
CBS…9.0 million (+9%)
NBC…8.9 million (-7%)
ABC…6.1 million (-2%)
Fox…4.9 million (-16%)
CW…1.7 million (-5%)
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