For the first time in 16 years, NBC will win the total-viewer race in the 52-week season to become the country’s most watched network, while also winning the 18-49 demo crown for a fifth consecutive season.

Last year, minus Olympics and Super Bowl, NBC took the September-to-September demo ratings crown for a fourth consecutive year, finishing second to CBS in total viewers.

In the demo for the season that ends September 23, NBC generated a 38% margin of victory, with a 1.8 rating compared to CBS and ABC’s 1.3, Fox’s 1.2 and the CW’s 0.5. That’s the biggest percentage advantage at this point in the season for any network in the 31-year history of Nielsen’s people-meter sample.

In total viewers, NBC’s 7.8 million viewers edges out CBS’ 7.7M.

“I’m extremely pleased that NBC has prevailed once again in 18-49 and all demos, but we’re obviously thrilled to become America’s most-watched wetwork in total viewers for the first time in 16 years,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement.

“No doubt the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics (and NFL football) combined to help deliver a record number of viewers to the network this year,” he acknowledged. But he also noted that, excluding sports from all the averages, NBC is tracking at No. 1 in the demo for scripted programming and/or unscripted, and in total viewers in the unscripted category.

That said, NBC Sports’ coverage of the Super Bowl will rank as the most-watched program of 2018; the PyeongChang Olympics scored as the most dominant Winter Games on record; and Sunday Night Football finished as primetime’s

This Is Us
NBC

No. 1 show for an unprecedented seventh consecutive season in Live+Same Day ratings. Also pacing NBC’s top-ranked regular lineup for the season is This Is Us, TV’s No. 1 drama in 18-49 and total viewers.

In total viewers, NBC has clinched the September-to-September season at No. 1 according to “most current” total-viewer averages with two weeks left in the season. The totals: NBC, 7.8 million; CBS, 7.7 million; ABC, 5.5 million; Fox, 4.2 million; and the CW, 1.5 million. NBC last ranked No. 1 for a season in total viewers in 2001-2002.

Excluding all sports, NBC is running closer to CBS at this point in the season in total viewers than it’s been in 15 years, since 2002-2003.

In late-night, NBC tops the season in the demo, with The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon leading the pack. CBS’ Late Show With Stephen Colbert tops total viewers with 3.769M to Fallon’s 2.580M.

NBC’s Saturday Night Live averaged its second biggest audience in 23 years, at 9.4M viewers  in Live+7 originals-only stats, trailing only last year’s election-propelled 11.0 million viewers.

Nielsen’s 2017-2018 “Most Current” Primetime Averages
(through Week 50)

Primetime Demos

NBC…1.8
ABC…1.3
CBS…1.3
Fox…1.2
CW…0.5

Primetime Total Viewers

NBC…7.8M
CBS…7.7M
ABC…5.5M
Fox…4.2M
CW…1.5M

Late-night Demos

11:35 PM-12:35 AM ET
NBC …Tonight 0.62 rating, 4 share
CBS… Late Show 0.57/4
ABC… JKL 0.46/3

12:35-1:05 AM ET
ABC…Nightline 0.29/2

12:35-1:35 AM ET
NBC… Late Night 0.36/3
CBS… The Late Late Show 0.26/2

1:35-2:05 AM ET
NBC… Last Call 0.21/2

TOTAL VIEWERS

11:35 PM-12:35 AM ET
NBC… Tonight 2.580M
CBS… Late Show 3.769M
ABC… JKL 2.192M

12:35-1:05 AM ET
ABC… Nightline 1.342M

12:35-1:35 AM ET
NBC… Late Night 1.517M
CBS…The Late Late Show 1.359M

1:35-2:05 AM ET
NBC… Last Call, 0.788