It was a huge Sunday night for the NFL, and for CBS. The AFC Championship Game conquered the TV ratings delivering a 9.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and 33.01 million viewers in early Nielsen Live+Same Day data as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills 38-24 to punch their return ticket to the Super Bowl.
CBS’s The Neighborhood this Monday drew 6.2 million total viewers and a 0.9 demo rating, ticking up on both counts to mark season highs. Leading out of that, Bob Hearts Abishola (5.8M/0.7) hit a season high in audience while steady in the demo. The CW’s All American (838K/0.3) slipped 20% and 25% from last week’s boffo opener, matching what had been its previous season highs.
The CW’s Charmed opened Season 3 with 465,000 total viewers and a 0.1 demo rating, down from both its sophomore average and its May finale to hit and match series lows. Opening The CW’s night, Batwoman “2.0” (642K/0.2) was down 3% in viewers from its opener while steady in the demo. Leading out of the AFC Championship game (which averaged about 34M viewers in primetime), a special airing of FBI drew 8.8M with a 1.9 rating, marking a season high in audience and easily setting an all-time demo high.
Walker debuted to 2.43 million total viewers and a 0.4 demo rating, giving the CW time slot its largest audience in more than four years (since a December 2016 episode of Legends of Tomorrow) and leading the network to its most watched Thursday in nearly three years (since March 29, 2018).
The 6.53 million people who watched President Joe Biden take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address on MSNBC Wednesday was a whopping 338% bigger than its audience for Donald Trump’s swearing in four years ago, Nielsen says. On the flip side, Fox News Channel’s audience of 2.74 million for Biden on Wednesday represented a nearly 77% drop from its viewership for Trump in 2017.
Both ABC’s and NBC’s broadcast of the Celebrating America presidential inauguration special averaged 3.9 million viewers and a 0.7 demo rating, while CBS’s drew 3.3M.The CW’s Riverdale opened Season 5 with 655,000 total viewers and a 0.2 demo rating, right on par with its May finale and steady in the demo though down in viewers from its previous average.
CBS’s NCIS returned from a six-week holiday break to 9.3 million total viewers and a 0.8 rating, up from its fall finale and leading Tuesday in both measures (with usual demo champ This Is Us in rerun mode until Feb. 2). A second episode of NCIS drew 8.5 mil and a 0.7.
The CW’s All American opened Season 3 with 1.06 million total viewers and a 0.4 demo rating — besting its previous series highs of 880K and 0.3. On Fox, 9-1-1‘s Season 4 premiere drew 7M (Monday’s biggest audience) and a 1.2 rating, down a tick in the demo from its Season 3 average (1.4) and finale (1.3). ABC’s The Bachelor (4.8M/1.3) ticked up week-to-week, to edge out 9-1-1 for the Monday demo win.
Fox’s broadcast of Sunday night’s NFL divisional playoff game between the Bucs and Saints averaged 29.3 million total viewers and an 8.1 demo rating. The CW’s new Batwoman drew 663,000 viewers and a 0.1 rating, down from both its Season 1 averages (995K/0.26) and its freshman finale (740K/0.2), marking its third smallest audience to date and matching its demo low (which was reached about a year ago).
Fox’s Call Me Kat this week drew 2.8 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating, down 15 and 28 percent from its Thursday time slot debut. ABC’s Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (7.6M/1.1) dipped from last week’s debut yet still dominated Thursday in both measures (with CBS again in rerun mode).
NBC’s Chicago Med returned from its eight-week break to 7.4 million total viewers and a 1.0 demo rating, right on par with its fall finale and leading Wednesday in both measures (tying Chicago Fire for the demo win). The third part of the franchise, Chicago P.D. (6.4M/0.9) ticked up in the demo.
Alabama’s 52-24 rout of Ohio State in the College Football National Championship game drew 18.7 million viewers for ESPN’s family of networks on Monday. That puts it on pace to be the least-viewed championship game in college football’s era of staging an end-of-season matchup to determine the national champion.
Fox’s Prodigal Son opened Season 2 with 2.3 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating — well below both its freshman averages (3.4M/0.7, airing Mondays) as well as what Empire averaged in the Tuesday time slot last season (2.7M/0.7).
ABC’s The Good Doctor returned from a six-week break to 3.9 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating, both marking series lows.
Nielsen said its local ratings service is now not accredited because the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted its ability to manage the panels it uses to measure what viewers are watching. The Media Rating Council accreditation of Nielsen’s local people meter and set meter service in large- and mid-sized markets has been put on “hiatus” while the company develops new ways to recruit and maintain its panels. Nielsen’s system for measuring viewership in the smallest markets is not MRC accredited.
NBC’s broadcast of the NFL Wild Card game between the Browns and Steelers dominated Sunday primetime with 21.5 million total viewers and a 6.3 demo rating. On ABC, The Rookie drew series lows of 3M and a 0.4.
ABC’s first spin of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune dominated Thursday in both the demo (with a 1.1 rating) and in total audience (drawing 7.8 million viewers).
Comscore, whose weak financial position has hampered its ability to compete as a provider of media measurement, has wiped out its debt with a $204 million strategic investment from Charter Communications, Qurate Retail and Cerberus. In addition to cleaning up its balance sheet, the deal gives Comscore access to data that will help it provide the new types of audience and impression based measurement that are being demanded by a changing media and advertising industry.
Both NBC and ABC shifted from their regularly scheduled programming to air primetime coverage of the violence in the nation’s capital city on Wednesday afternoon. In the overnight ratings, NBC topped all of its competitors across primetime, averaging a 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.4 million viewers. ABC was second in viewers with 4.2 million and tied for second in the demo with a 0.7 rating.
The most important 30-day stretch of the year for the television industry begins this weekend on the gridiron. The 14 most-watched U.S. TV broadcasts of 2021 could take place over the next month: 13 NFL playoff games (up from 11 due to expansion) and Monday’s College Football Playoff National Championship.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is singing a happier tune in its family-friendlier time slot. On Tuesday, NBC’s musical dramedy — which used to air Sundays at 9 ET — returned to 3 million total viewers and a 0.5 demo rating, improving on its freshman averages (2M/0.4) and, in fact, delivered its largest audience to date.
The news channel’s audience nearly doubles over 2019, while ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve maintains its position as the most watched year-end special.
ABC’s The Bachelor opened its 25th season with 5 million total viewers and a 1.3 rating, dominating Monday in the demo though hitting premiere lows in both measures.
The new deal provides measurement of digital linear audiences across all Tegna markets.
Fox’s Call Me Kat sneak-previewed to 5.4 million total viewers and a 1.3 demo rating (leading out of The OT), easily topping all of Sunday’s non-NFL fare in the demo and trailing only CBS’s 60 Minutes in audience.
ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest led the way Thursday with its annual countdown to the new year, drawing a 2.4 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic and 8.37 million viewers in the primetime portion of its broadcast in fast affiliate Nielsen Live+Same Day numbers.
All was fairly quiet across broadcasters Wednesday as NBC led the night with encores of Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD which delivered a 0.4 in the adults 18-49 demographic across the board. NBC may have led the night overall, but CBS’s rerun of Young Sheldon topped the night with a 0.5 in the demo and 4.07 million viewers.
The pandemic didn’t slow down the NFL, which once again dominated Variety’s ranker of the most-watched television telecasts of the year. No surprise, of course, Super Bowl LIV was easily the top program of 2020, with 102 million viewers on Feb. 2. Actually, seven of the 10 telecasts of the year came from the NFL, and 28 out of the top 100 of the year. The other major sports leagues weren’t as lucky. Scripted series accounted for 39 of the top 100 slots, while competition series took up nine spots.
ABC’s Monday Night Football season finale, in which the Bills clobbered the Patriots, averaged 6.1 million viewers and a 1.2 demo rating — easily leading a super-quiet night in both measures.
The complete broadcast, cable and pay TV ratings ranker for 2020 in total viewers and adults 18-49.
The premiere of The Masked Dancer on Fox Sunday put up the best 18-49 rating for a series debut so far this season. NBC’s Sunday Night Football also looks to be headed for its biggest audience in more than a month.
The New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings game on Christmas Day proved a strong lure for sports fans isolated from their typical family gatherings by the pandemic. The game drew a 10.1 demographics score and provided an NFL record performance, as Saints running back Alvin Kamara scored six touchdowns.
The vast majority of ad-supported networks lost audience, sometimes a lot of it, this year.
ABC’s The Bachelorette finale drew 5.24 million total viewers a 1.2 demo rating, matching Monday’s numbers and leading Tuesday on both counts. The Price Is Right at Night (5.2M/0.6) nipped at The Bachelorette‘s high heels in total audience; Let’s Make a Deal Primetime followed with 4.3M/0.6.
ABC’s The Bachelorette dominated a quiet Monday with 4.9 million total viewers (its largest audience since Nov. 10) and a 1.2 demo rating (up 20% week-to-week). The night’s only other fresh fare, NEXT, ticked up to its third-largest audience thus far (1.2M) while holding onto its demo low of 0.2; the canceled drama’s two-hour finale airs tonight starting at 8 p.m.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Brown and Giants averaged 12.9 million total viewers and a 3.4 demo rating, down 8% and 17% from last week‘s fast nationals to mark its smallest numbers since Oct. 26 and Oct. 19, respectively. That said, it of course dominated Sunday in both measures.
The winter finale of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, slipped two tenths in the demo to match its series low of 1.0, and yet led non-sports fare in that measure, while delivering 5.6 million total viewers.
Sports TV ratings plummeted this year, and it doesn’t look like they’ll surge back 2021, either. The pandemic has likely changed viewing habits forever. While sports leagues will still reap the rewards of multibillion-dollar TV contracts well into the next decade, they will be forced to adjust. The landscape is dramatically shifting.