CBS will wrap the 2018-2019 TV season as the country’s most watched broadcast network in primetime, making it 11 consecutive seasons on top.
The network’s The Big Bang Theory ended its historic 12-year run as the season’s most watched scripted series, repeating last year’s feat. Its spinoff, Young Sheldon, is the next most watched comedy for the season that ends this week, followed by Mom at No. 3.
With three days of ratings yet to come, CBS claims 13 of the Top 30 most watched broadcast series, topping all competitors. That includes 11 of the top 20 broadcast dramas – more than the other networks combined (including all three NCIS shows, with the mothership returning to the top as the season’s most watched drama.)
And 60 Minutes continues as the country’s most watched newsmag.
Unlike last time it had the Super Bowl, CBS this season was unable to unseat NBC for No. 1 status in the key 18-49 demographic. NBC edged it out by a tenth in the demo, marking its fifth win of the past six seasons, leaving CBS in a tie with Fox for No. 2. ABC ranked No. 4, followed by CW.
Pacing NBC’s demo win was broadcast TV’s No. 1 primetime series in that metric and total viewers: Sunday Night Football. It also had broadcast TV’s No. 1 drama in the demo This Is Us, and the No. 1 and No. 2 new scripted series in the metric, Manifest and New Amsterdam, respectively.
Good news for broadcasters is a marked number of new series near the top of the season rankers, including Fox’s Masked Singer, NBC’s Manifest, America’s Got Talent: The Champions and New Amsterdam, and CBS’ FBI. Also, a number of sophomore shows fared well including ABC’s The Good Doctor and Fox’s 9-1-1, as well as NBC’s third season of This Is Us.
But, in an industry increasingly defined by big-ticket sporting events, NBC – which last year aired the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and shared Thursday night football – had none of those, contributing to its 27% drop in the demo and 19% decline in total viewers.
CBS, which had the other half of Thursday NFL, lost that but gained the Super Bowl. It finishes this 2018-2019 TV season on par with last season in the demo and virtually on par with last season in total viewers.
Fox, which gained the full Thursday football package this season, also finished flat relative to last season in the demo, and climbed 9% in total viewers.
ABC, which does not participate in the NFL scramble, dropped 20% in the demo and 8% in total viewers. That said, ABC fared better when calendar 2019 kicked in, tying NBC for No. 1 status with entertainment programming in the demo.
CW dropped 33% in the demo and 22% in total viewers, season to season.
Here are the season’s series rankings through Monday (check back later this week for final numbers):