TV Season Rankings: Sunday Night Football Ends Idol's Streak; Once, POI and Rob Score Wins

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Overall rankings for the TV season gone by have been released, and for the first time in eight years, American Idol did not come out on top.

Instead, NBC’s Sunday Night Football placed No. 1 in both the coveted 18-49 demo rating (averaging a 7.99) and in total audience (averaging 20.74 million viewers).

Idol‘s Wednesday telecasts placed second in both measures, with a 6.16 and 19.8 million total viewers. In the demo, The Voice nipped at Idol‘s heels, averaging a 6.12.

RELATED | Fall TV Preview: Your Guide to What’s New!

Here are a few superlatives to chew on; hit Comments to share what surprises/delights you:

TOP COMEDY
18-49: Modern Family, ABC (5.54)/The Big Bang Theory, CBS (5.53)
Total Viewers: The Big Bang Theory, CBS (15.8 million)

TOP NEW COMEDY
18-49: 2 Broke Girls, CBS (4.35)
Total Viewers: Rob, CBS (12 million)

TOP DRAMA
18-49: Grey’s Anatomy, ABC (4.23)
Total Viewers: NCIS, CBS (19.5 million)

TOP NEW DRAMA
18-49: Once Upon a Time, ABC (4.1)
Total Viewers: Person of Interest, CBS (14.34 million)

TOP CANCELLED SHOW
18-49: Rob, CBS (3.71)
Total Viewers: Unforgettable, CBS (12.1 million)

LOWEST-RATED RENEWED SHOW
18-49: Nikita, The CW (0.61)
Total Viewers: Gossip Girl, The CW (1.52 million)

AND AT THE VERY BOTTOM
The L.A. Complex, The CW (0.27 rating, 572K total viewers)

RELATED | Finale Ratings: American Idol and SVU At All-Time Lows, Revenge Hits 20-Week High

TOP 10 BY DEMO
Sunday Night Football
American Idol (Wednesday)
The Voice
Modern Family
American Idol (Thursday)
The Big Bang Theory
Two and a Half Men
The X Factor (Wednesday)
2 Broke Girls
Grey’s Anatomy

TOP 10 BY TOTAL VIEWERS
Sunday Night Football
American Idol (Wednesday)
NCIS
American Idol (Thursday)
Dancing With the Stars (Monday)
Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday)
NCIS: Los Angeles
The Big Bang Theory
The Voice
Two and a Half Men

For completists, our sister site Deadline has the complete rankings for 156 shows.



Comments (34)

  • 12 million people watched Rob?

    Comment by Darth Pablo – May 25, 2012 08:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s actually low when you consider it was on CBS.

      Comment by Ashley – May 25, 2012 08:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Hey rob was pretty funny. I love cheech marin and miss him on tv. And rob schneider as a slightly nuerotic person was actually funny.

      Comment by Jennifer – May 25, 2012 08:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I watched 2 minutes of the Pilot episode and knew it was going nowhere.

      Comment by John – May 25, 2012 09:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Another in a long line of the love interest is way too hot for the goofy comedian. Was completely uinbelievable and unwatchable!! Had a good lead in but couldn’t keep any of the viewers so it was cancelled.

        Comment by JASon – May 25, 2012 01:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hooray for once upon a time!!

    Comment by Robin – May 25, 2012 08:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m not saying the Top 10 in total viewers isn’t made up of enjoyable programs, but geez, not one of them is a smart comedy (Happy Endings, Parks and Rec.) or a serialized drama (Patenthood, The Good Wife). Is America really that stupid?

    Comment by Sam – May 25, 2012 08:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Starting to look like it. It’s kind of depressing. Also I don’t know anyone who regularly watches any of the top 10 shows. Who are these millions of people?

      Comment by Ava – May 25, 2012 08:41 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I think I’m a fairly average American and I watch Sunday Night Football, DWTS, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Modern Family, and the Big Bang Theory. So that is 6 out of the top 10 shows. Everyone has their own tastes though. I also used to watch Idol, but got tired of it and have not watched the past couple of seasons.

        Comment by G – May 25, 2012 09:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • No, America just doesn’t have as limited a view of what’s good as you do.

      Comment by Kendall – May 25, 2012 12:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually, Sam was only pointing out that, even though the shows are enjoyable, there is not one program on there that would be considered intellectually challenging.

        Comment by liddad – May 26, 2012 01:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Perhaps that just means that people are looking for intellectual challenge elsewhere than TV. I’m somebody who does like to get my mind caught up in TV viewing, but in my social circles, that’s definitely kind of unusual. For most people I know, TV is just something to turn on for an hour in the evening when you want to give your mind a break, in between the “real” parts of the day. Something that takes a lot of attention or has to be followed consistently week-to-week isn’t going to cut it. It doesn’t mean they don’t like intellectually engaging entertainment; it just means that when they want that, they’re reading books or going to plays and concerts, not watching TV. I’m sure that as far as they’re concerned, I’m the one who’s intellectually suspect for getting so invested in a medium that they think of as better suited for mindless entertainment. :-)

          Comment by Joy – June 5, 2012 11:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • FOOTBALL!!! (I’m wishing it was football season right now.)

    Comment by Renee – May 25, 2012 08:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • And yeah for Person Of Interest!

    Comment by Renee – May 25, 2012 08:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Considering Once Upon a Time was up against NBC football for the early part of the season (and then had to battle with football overruns on CBS skewing all the numbers for another part of the season), I’m even more impressed with how well the show did this year. Congrats OUAT and I can’t wait for season two! =D

    Comment by Heather – May 25, 2012 08:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love both POI and OUAT.

    Like the football on Sundays too (depends on who plays, though).

    Yay, Nikita!!

    Comment by ninamags – May 25, 2012 09:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yes for POI and OUAT!!!!!

    Comment by joterri – May 25, 2012 09:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Seconded, my two favourite new shows!!!

      Comment by Annika – May 25, 2012 11:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Third, along with Revenge.

        Comment by lll – July 5, 2012 09:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Since Unforgettable drew 12 mil viewers, is there no cable station to pick it up? Interesting show.

    Comment by GeeMa – May 25, 2012 09:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There’s a possibility Lifetime may be picking up Unforgettable

      Comment by NYCCntryGrl – May 25, 2012 10:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow. Good for ABC. It skews younger than CBS to great success, seems like. I couldn’t manage to fit in POI this season, but I’ll definitely be looking for it when it comes out on DVD.

    Comment by Emily – May 25, 2012 09:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ABC may skew lower than CBS overall, but I’m pretty sure that “DWTS” is the oldest skewing show on tv. And ABC’s average age has gone up while CBS’s average age has gone down.

      Comment by dan – May 25, 2012 01:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Actually ABC was #4 in Demo, CBS was just behind FOX. So, no, ABC doesn’t skew younger than CBS.

      Comment by Adam Tierney – May 27, 2012 12:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I bet (hope) Grey’s Anatomy won’t do so well next year. That Finale cured me.
    Very happy for Once Upon A Time, it is well deserved :)

    Comment by lilys87 – May 25, 2012 10:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Of course the numbers dont really mean anything… as they are projections based on the very small number of people that actually have nielsen devices in their homes… Isn’t it time the tv industry figures out how to more accurate measure these things… Cant every cable box send out a signal that tracks this stuff without relying on inaccurate figures.

    Comment by Lincoln – May 25, 2012 10:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I know!! Weird that they still use an antiquated 40 year old technique. It may be because the cable box can’t tell you who is watching (age, sex, etc) The nielsen diaries contain this info and is important to advertisers.

      Comment by JASon – May 25, 2012 01:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Exactly. They pretty much only care for viewers that watch live (ie see the commercials) and are in the desirable age bracket. That’s what they can sell to the ad people.

        Comment by Renee – May 25, 2012 06:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I didn’t realize Rob got such high ratings… then again maybe I’m just used to seeing much lower ratings for TV shows I actually like.

    I wonder where Revenge falls in the Top New Drama category.

    Comment by cjeffery7 – May 25, 2012 11:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Was the strong lead in!!! It actually lost way too much of the lead in audience so was cancelled.

      Comment by JASon – May 25, 2012 01:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What does it say about us when a show as sexist, crass, offensive and hyper-sexualized as 2.5 Men and Two Broke Girls are make our top ten?

    Comment by Ana – May 25, 2012 02:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow. Grey’s is still #1 for drama. That makes me very pleased indeed. Also Once was great and glad its the #1 new drama for the season. Also its about damn time something else took over from Idol. This year’s winner is imo is the worst yet. Jessica was robbed by yet another Kris Allen sing a like.

    Comment by greysfan – May 26, 2012 02:02 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can’t believe Grey’s Anatomy is still the #1 drama, after 8 seasons! That’s something for ABC to hang their hats on.

    Comment by Greys – September 14, 2012 08:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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