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'Sunday Night Football' is primetime television's No. 1 show for unprecedented 8th consecutive year


Sat, May 25th 2019 09:40 am

With the 2018-19 TV season wrapped up, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” finished as primetime’s No. 1 TV show in all key metrics for an unprecedented eighth consecutive year – adding to its record for the most consecutive years atop the charts (since 1950), based on official live plus same day data provided by Nielsen. “Sunday Night Football” also ranked as the No. 1 show in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic for the ninth consecutive TV season.

“SNF” posted a total audience delivery average of 19.6 million viewers in 2018 – up 7% from the 2017 season (18.4 million), according to official live plus same data provided by Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics.

In addition, on Monday night in New York at the Sports Emmy Awards for excellence in sports television production, “SNF” became the first show ever to win 10 Sports Emmys in the Outstanding Live Sports Series category. “SNF” has earned the honor in 10 of the past 11 years.

“As an anchor of the strongest primetime lineup in TV, we are extremely proud that ‘Sunday Night Football’ has extended this historic streak to eight years,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman, NBC Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News. “This milestone is a testament to the hundreds of hard-working members of the ‘SNF’ team, who are devoted to putting on a superb show each week. Moving forward under new NBC Sports Group President Pete Bevacqua, we hope to continue this streak well into the future. We celebrate this accomplishment with the NFL and the millions of loyal viewers who tune in every Sunday.”

Most Consecutive Years, #1 Ranked Show in Primetime, Since 1950

  • 8 years in a row – “Sunday Night Football” (2011-12 through 2018-19)
  • 6 years in a row – “American Idol” (2005-06 through 2010-11)
  • 5 years in a row – “The Cosby Show” (1985-86 through 1989-90; tied “Cheers” in ’89-90)
  • 5 years in a row – “All in the Family” (1971-72 through 1975-76)
  • 4 years in a row – “Gunsmoke” (1957-58 through 1960-61)

“SNF” averaged 19.3 million TV viewers in 2018, which topped the #2 primetime show (“Thursday Night Football”) by 35% -- marking the most dominant season in NBC “SNF” history (since 2006 debut). SNF also beat by 45% the top scripted comedy series (“Big Bang Theory,” 13.3 million live + same day viewers), and topped the most-watched scripted dramas by 59% (“Game of Thrones” and “NCIS,” 12.1 million).

“SNF” averaged an 11.0/21 household rating in posting the series’ largest-ever advantage (28%) over primetime’s #2 show (“TNF”). SNF also easily topped the highest-rated scripted series (“Big Bang Theory”), with a 38% margin.

For the 2018-19 primetime television season, “SNF” ranked as the highest-rated (11.0 HH rating) and most-watched show (19.3 million TV-only viewers), and the No. 1 program among adults 18-49 (6.1). (Nielsen live + same day data, 9/6/18-5/19/19; regularly-scheduled series, excludes pre- and post-game shows) “SNF’s” eight-year run at the top marks the only eight times on record that a sports series has been the highest-rated and most-watched show of the primetime TV season. 

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