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NBC wins primetime television season in 18-49

by jmaloni

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Tue, May 20th 2014 09:00 pm

NBC's 13 percent jump season to season in adults 18-49 is the net's biggest gain in Nielsen People Meter history and the biggest for any "Big 4" net in nine years

NBC has won the 2013-14 primetime television season in adults 18-49, its first season-long win in 10 years. NBC has delivered a 2.7 rating for the season, the network's highest average in four years, according to "most current" viewing data from Nielsen Media Research with three nights left to count in the traditional September-to-May season.

NBC is up 13 percent versus its year-ago rating (to a 2.7 from a 2.4), the biggest season-to-season increase for NBC in the 26-year history of Nielsen's People Meter sample, and biggest for any "Big 4" network in nine years.

Though benefiting this season from February's coverage of the Sochi Olympics, NBC is still generating the season's No. 1 adult 18-49 audience, topping Super Bowl-boosted FOX, even when NBC's 18 nights of Sochi coverage are excluded from its season averages. Also, even when all sports programming is excluded, NBC finishes within a tenth of a point of No. 1 and is the only network up versus last season (with a 2.2 average in 18-49, excluding sports, up 10 percent versus last season).

NBC accomplishments for the season include:

•Finishing No. 1 on four of the seven nights of the week, the most for NBC in 12 years (since winning five nights, including a tie, in 2001-02).

•The most nightlong 18-49 wins for NBC in 12 years (with 87 wins among the "Big 4" through Sunday, May 18, highest since 131 wins in 2001-02). The total of 87 wins is more than any other network claimed this season or last.

•The most weeklong wins for any networks this season, 18 (including two ties), and also more than for any network last season. It's the most weeklong wins for NBC in 11 years, since winning 19 (including three ties) in 2002-03.

NBC's 13 percent gain versus last season in 18-49 in "most current" Nielsen results is the biggest increase for any "Big 4" network since ABC grew by 16 percent in "live plus seven day" results for 2004-05.

In total viewers, NBC is No. 2 for the season (with or without the 18 nights of the Sochi Olympic counted in NBC's average), marking the first time since the 2003-04 season NBC has finished higher than No. 4 in total viewers.

Versus last season, NBC was up 33 percent in total viewers, (9.3 million vs. 7.0 million), the network's biggest total-viewer gain season-to-season in People-Meter history and biggest for any network in 25 years, since FOX grew by 46 percent in 1988-89.

In adults 18-49 among the broadcast networks, NBC's schedule featured (excluding sports pre- and post-game shows):

•The season's No. 1 series, "Sunday Night Football" (also No. 1 in total viewers).

•The season's No. 3 series, No. 2 entertainment series and No. 1 reality series, "The Voice."

•The season's No. 1 new series and No. 2 drama, "The Blacklist" (as well as No. 1 drama, excluding encores).

•The season's No. 1 Friday series, "Grimm."

NBC's Monday is the top-rated regular schedule on any broadcast net in 18-49 (with an average 4.3 rating for regular programming) and NBC's Tuesday (3.1) is a close No. 3 behind CBS's Thursday (3.3), excluding NBC's NFL-boosted Sunday (4.2), which was the No. 1 lineup during the fourth quarter of 2013.

Looking at NBC's averages for regular programming this season vs. last in adults 18-49:

•Mondays are up 10 percent

•Tuesdays are up 15 percent

•Wednesdays are up 15 percent

•Thursdays are down 6 percent

•Fridays are up 13 percent

•Saturdays are up 14 percent

•Sundays are up 5 percent.

NBC has delivered increases in key time periods with scripted programming this season, including these gains:

•Up 39 percent Mondays at 10 p.m. with "The Blacklist" (with originals vs. year-ago regular programming, "most current").

•Up 22 percent Tuesdays at 10 with "Chicago Fire."

•Up 47 percent Wednesdays at 8 with "Revolution."

•Up 92 percent Thursdays at 10 with "Parenthood."

For the season, NBC also ranks No. 1 among the "Big 4" networks in adults 25-54, adults 18-34 (tied with Fox), men 18-49 (tied with Fox), men 25-54 and all key adult-female demographics.

NBC also continued to dominate late night all season, with the biggest surge coming since February when Jimmy Fallon took over "The Tonight Show" and Seth Meyers inherited "Late Night."

The combination of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" has dominated the 11:35 p.m. ET hour throughout the September-to-May season. In season-long averages through May 11, "Tonight" has generated a 1.28 rating, up 56 percent versus last season's 0.82 and the highest "Tonight" rating at this point in five years.

"Tonight" has established a margin this season of plus-80 percent versus ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (0.71), up from last season's plus-30 percent. Versus CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman" (0.58), "Tonight" has an advantage this season of 121 percent, up from last season's 17 percent. These are "Tonight's" biggest leads ever over Letterman or Kimmel in the 11:35-12:35 hour.

"Tonight" has extended its dominance since the host transition in February, with "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" averaging a 1.72 rating in adults 18-49 "most current" averages, giving it a margin of plus-149 percent versus "Kimmel" (0.69 since Feb.17) and plus-207 percent versus "Late Show" (0.56).

At 12:35 a.m. ET, "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and "Late Night with Seth Meyers" have combined this season for a 0.69 rating, up 25 percent versus the show's 2012-13 average of 0.55. The margin versus CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (0.40) is plus-73 percent, up from last season's plus-28 percent.

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