While not much of a surprise on the surface for the powerhouse flagship NFL show, which has been No. 1 for what seems like ages through ups and fumbles. However, with a blockbuster boost from 27.2 million who tuned in for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 19-17 squeaker over the New England Patriots on October 3, this year pretty much seals the deal for SNF as the most-watched show in consecutive years in what is essentially the history of television.
Almost doubling the span of its closest rival American Idol from back in the day, the 2021-2022 SNF season is poised to stand as the top dog for the 11th consecutive year.
Or to put in math terms, an average of 18.5 million viewers watched SNF on NBC since the NFL series’ latest debut on September 12 last year. First off, that’s up 10.1% from the limp run of 2020 and its Covid-19 hinderances. Dipping just 7.5% from 2019’s results, this season of SNF was basically on par with 2018 and up a tiny bit from 2017. The key adults 18-49 demo this season averaged a 5.3 rating, tops for a 14th year in a row.
To add perspective in the upper echelons of TV, American Idol ruled for six consecutive seasons from 2005-2006 to 2010-2011 on Fox. Third place is a tie between the five years NBC’s The Cosby Show reigned supreme from 1985-1986 to 1989-1990 (with a match with Cheers in that final year) and All in the Family’s CBS golden run of 1971-1972 to 1975-1976. Tossing the ball way, way back, the fourth spot belongs to Gunsmoke with its wins from 1957-1958 to 1960-1961 on CBS.
This being the 21st century and not the Eisenhower era, SNF’s scope obviously extends beyond linear TV. To that, and with games on NBCUniversal’s streamer Peacock, total audience delivery for SNF this season was 19.3 million on average. Or, as NBC is more than proud to point out, a rise of 11% from the 17.4 million of last year.
So, with last year’s Super Bowl and its audience of 91.6 million watching on CBS stumbling to a multi-year low, NBC really wants to see you at SoFi Stadium on February 13 … and not just for the rappalooza halftime show scheduled to feature Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg.