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NBC ranks #1 for season in total viewers for the first time since 2001-02


Mon, Feb 12th 2018 04:00 pm
NBC has claimed the primetime 2017-18 season-to-date lead among total viewers, with an average of 9.569 million persons for the season through 20 weeks in "most current" results from Nielsen Media Research that include fast-official results for Feb. 9-11.
This marks the first time NBC has ranked No. 1 in total viewers at any point during the season since it won the 2001-02 crown 16 years ago.
NBC's 9.569 million viewers is the network's second highest average through 20 weeks of the season in 11 years, since 2006-07 (9.750 million), trailing slightly over that span only the 9.581 million average in 2014-15.
Excluding all sports, NBC is running closer to CBS at this point in the season than it's been in 15 years, since 2002-03 (currently within 1.9 million total viewers of CBS, excluding sports - best since the gap was 546,000 in 2002-03).
NBC's breakthrough lineup this season features the Feb. 4 Super Bowl; Feb. 8-25 coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics; broadcast's No. 1 drama, "This Is Us," which is now up 23 percent versus last season (16.9 million viewers vs. 13.8 million, "most current") and is on track to rank as the top drama in total viewers when additional time-shifting is tallied; the No. 1 alternative series, "The Voice," and the biggest in-season alternative launch since "Little Big Shots," "Ellen's Game of Games"; the "Chicago" franchise, which represents three of the top six most-watched 10 p.m. dramas on ABC, CBS and NBC (L+7 originals); a Thursday lineup of popular, upscale and critically acclaimed comedies led by the return of "Will & Grace"; Friday's No. 1 newsmagazine, "Dateline NBC"; and some of the most-watched specials of the season, including The Golden Globe Awards and "Christmas in Rockefeller Center."
"On behalf of myself and Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, we are enormously proud of everyone at NBC for achieving the milestone of becoming America's most-watched network for the first time in 16 years," said Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment. "Only five years ago, we were still fourth place in total viewers after having regained the 18-49 demo crown in 2014, a level we've maintained for the past four full seasons.
"This is an achievement that reflects NBC's strength as a true broadcaster, delivering mega-events like 'Sunday Night Football,' the Super Bowl and Olympics, along with the some of the highest-rated scripted and unscripted programming on television, such as 'This Is Us,' 'Will & Grace,' 'The Voice,' 'America's Got Talent,' and the list goes on and on. We are incredibly proud of our owned and affiliated stations, as well as our studio, programming, scheduling, sales, marketing, publicity, affiliate-relations and operations teams, all of which are second to none in this industry."
In the key adult 18-49 demographic, NBC has won the past four September-to-September seasons (and three of four September-to-May seasons). It is on track to make it five in a row this season, but the network had not previously ranked No. 1 in total viewers at any point during a season, September-to-May or September-to-September, since 2001-02.
NBC remained in fourth place in total viewers for nine consecutive September-to-May seasons from 2004-05 through 2012-13 and has finished No. 2 for the four completed seasons since then. The last time NBC aired a Super Bowl and Olympics in the same season, during the 2011-12 broadcast year (with the London Summer Olympics), the network finished No. 2 for that 52-week season.
Season-to-Date Averages
"Most current," including fast-official and fast-affiliate results for Feb. 9-11
Total Viewers 
  • NBC ... 9.569 million
  • CBS ... 9.385 million
  • ABC ... 5.911 million
  • FOX ... 5.892 million
Adult 18-49 Rating 
  • NBC ... 2.47
  • FOX ... 1.77
  • CBS ... 1.66
  • ABC ... 1.45
Averages include "live plus seven" data from Sept. 25 through Jan. 28, 2018, and "live plus same day" results from Jan. 29-Feb. 11. NBC's figures include "fast official" results for Feb. 9-11, while ABC, CBS and FOX averages include "fast affiliate" Nielsens for Feb. 9-11.
All results prior to Feb. 9 are based on official-national ratings.

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