Thursday, May 12, 2022

Report: NBC To Win Season 18-49

The 2021-22 TV season is drawing to a close, just in time for upfront week, and a new network has taken the ratings crown in the coveted adults 18-49 demographic, reports AdWeek.

NBC narrowly pulled ahead of Fox—which had been the demo champion for the past two seasons—while CBS continued its streak as No. 1 in total viewers for the 14th consecutive season.

Most of the broadcasters have reason to celebrate this year, with three of the networks seeing gains in total viewership year-over-year: CBS, NBC and Fox. Only ABC and The CW saw audience dips.

In the demo, however, NBC was the only network to add viewers, on the strength of broadcasting Super Bowl 56 and the Winter Olympics. The network was No. 1 with a 1.1 rating, a 10% increase from last season’s 1.0. Fox came in second, also with a 1.1 (flat from last season) but slightly behind NBC in actual 18-49 viewers (1.37 million to NBC’s 1.5 million), followed by CBS at 0.8 (down 20% from last year’s 1.0), ABC with 0.7 (a 22% drop from 0.9) and The CW with a 0.1 (a 50% drop from last season’s 0.2).

The NFL was once again the strongest programming on linear, with football games and pre- and postgame programming accounting for seven of the season’s Top 10 primetime shows in total viewers and eight in the 18-49 demo.

CBS averaged 6.26 million total viewers, winning the season for the 14th year in a row. It gained a little over 1% from last season’s audience of 6.19 million. NBC was second with 6.11 million, a 17% bump from last season’s 5.24 million. Fox was third place with 4.56 million (a 9% gain from last season’s 4.18) and ABC was in fourth with 4.16 (down 10% from last year’s 4.64). The CW had 650,000, down nearly 23% from last season’s 840,000.

All numbers reflect Nielsen’s “most current” ratings, which are live-plus-7 for the entire season except for the last two weeks, which are live-plus-same-day.

Once again, the season numbers demonstrate how rapidly the linear landscape has shifted—and cratered—in just a few years. NBC’s 1.1 demo win this season was a lower rating than all of the Big Four broadcasters just three seasons ago. And one year before that—during the 2017-18 season—NBC won the demo with a 2.2 rating, which is double its rating this season and represents the last time a broadcaster broke a 2 season rating in adults 18-49.

📺Most-watched shows

NBC has eight of the top 20 shows in the demo, with This is Us as the No. 1 entertainment show for adults 18-49 in its final season with a 1.4 rating—a number that could increase for its series finale on May 24.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football was once again the No. 1 broadcast primetime series in the demo (5.1 rating). CBS NFL postgame specials in primetime did rate higher, with 18.8 million total viewers (versus SNF’s 18.1 million, which was No. 2 in total viewers), and second in the demo (4.7). Thursday Night Football, moving exclusively to Amazon next fall, was No. 3 in the demo with a 3.7.

Other top 10 shows in the demo include NBC’s Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, both with a 1.3 rating, and Chicago Med with a 1.1. CBS’ NCIS and FBI pulled in a 0.9 and 1.0 respectively, and comedy Young Sheldon rated a 1.0.

When it comes to total viewers, NFL programming made up seven of the top 10 slots. CBS’ NCIS (No. 6 overall with 11 million) and FBI (No. 8, 10.3 million) took two of the spots, while NBC’s Chicago Fire (No. 9, 9.9 million) filled the last.

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