With three nights to be counted, CBS was poised to win the September-May season in adults 18-49 for just the second time in the past 24 years, according to Nielsen. (The net, which aired the Super Bowl this season, won three years ago as well with the big game, but otherwise hasn’t scaled the top of Demo Mountain since it aired the Winter Olympics in 1991-92).
CBS and NBC would have finished in a virtual 18-49 tie without the Super Bowl in the mix. The Eye took the lead with the Feb. 7 game and won more weeks down the stretch than the Peacock to secure the bragging-rights victory.
CBS also will prevail in its core adults 25-54 demo for the ninth time in the last 13 years, leading NBC by 15% (3.1 to 2.7). And in total viewers, the Eye won by a big 35% margin (10.9 million vs. 8.1 million) for a record-setting eighth consecutive victory and its 13th win in the last 14 years. (This was NBC’s most-watched season without a Super Bowl or Olympics in nine years.)
Overall, the cumulative five-net average in adults 18-49 (8.9) was down 7% from last year (9.6) to another record low, according to Nielsen estimates through Sunday. They were also down a collective 9% in total viewers (33.6 million vs. 36.8 million).