Fall TV Ratings Champs: NFL, Voice and Spader Fuel NBC's Demo Win; CBS Draws Most Eyeballs

Fall Tv Ratings WinnersThe numbers are in for the opening thrust of the 2013-14 TV season, and NBC was No. 1 in delivering the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo, averaging a 3.2 rating versus CBS’ 2.7 and Fox’s 2.5.

ABC placed fourth with a 2.4 rating, followed by The CW’s 0.9.

In total viewers, CBS as usual topped all broadcasters, averaging 11.75 million total viewers. NBC placed second with 9.9 mil, followed by ABC (8.5 mil), Fox (7.3 mil) and The CW (2.07 mil).

Among new shows debuting this fall, NBC’s The Blacklist netted the best demo rating, with a 5.0. Rounding out the Top 5 freshmen were ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (3.9), Fox’s Sleepy Hollow (3.9), CBS’ The Millers (3.2) and CBS’ The Crazy Ones (3.1).

In total audience, the freshman Top 5 were The Blacklist (16.6 million viewers), The Millers (12.2 mil), The Crazy Ones (11.5 mil), S.H.I.E.L.D. (10.3 mil) and Sleepy Hollow (9.6 mil).

Here now, the Top 20 in each measure, tracking from Sept. 23 to Dec. 15 and factoring in any available Live+7 DVR data:

18-49 DEMO LEADERS
1. Sunday Night Football, NBC 7.9
2. The Big Bang Theory, CBS 6.8
3. Sunday Night Football Pre-Show, NBC 5.4
4. The OT, Fox 5.2
5. Modern Family, ABC 5.0
5. The Blacklist, NBC 5.0
7. The Voice (Mon.), NBC 4.9
8. The Voice (Tue.), NBC 4.4
9. Grey’s Anatomy, ABC 4.3
9. Scandal, ABC 4.3
11. Football Night in America, NBC 4.1
11. How I Met Your Mother, CBS 4.1
13. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, ABC 3.9
14. NCIS, CBS 3.8
15. Sleepy Hollow, Fox 3.6
15. Criminal Minds, CBS 3.6
17. 2 Broke Girls, CBS 3.3
18. Once Upon a Time, ABC 3.2
18. The Millers, CBS 3.2
18. Chicago Fire, NBC 3.2

TOTAL AUDIENCE LEADERS
1. NCIS, CBS 21,830,000
2. Sunday Night Football, NBC 21,279,000
3. The Big Bang Theory, CBS 21,269,000
4. NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS 16,835,000
5. The Blacklist, NBC 16,567,000
6. Person of Interest, CBS 15,989,000
7. Sunday Night Football Pre-Show, NBC 15,423,000
8. The Voice (Mon)., NBC 14,836,000
9. Dancing With the Stars, ABC 14,766,000
10. The OT, Fox 14,655,000
11. Blue Bloods, CBS 14,442,000
12. Castle, ABC 14,292,000
13. The Voice (Tue.), NBC 13,957,000
14. Criminal Minds, CBS 13,610,000
15. 60 Minutes, CBS 13,489,000
16. Modern Family, ABC 13,291,000
17. Elementary, CBS 12,859,000
18. Hawaii Five-0, CBS 12,419,000
19. CSI, CBS 12,400,000
20. The Millers, CBS 12,242,000

Want scoop on any of the above shows? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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48 Comments
  1. Esaul says:

    I love seeing this, thank you! Impressed/surprised that NBC is first. Slow process, but well deserved in some regards.

    • HereThere says:

      Yeah but without the football and The Voice they only have the Blacklist and Chicago Fire. And both enjoyed lovely lead in from The Voice. NBC needs more for 2nd half of the season.

      • Esaul says:

        Arguably they have SVU as well. Despite the decline in ratings it still contributes as a veteran show. Chicago Fire also did fine first season without a lead in from The Voice.

  2. Jo says:

    Does nbc still win without football? Just curious. Good for them anyway.

  3. Sam says:

    America: Where mass-appeal means bland as hell.

  4. Ami says:

    I realized last week how many NBC shows I now watch – vs barely turning on NBC several years ago. Congrats to the network, and thanks for investing in truly wonderful shows like Parenthood and Chicago Fire.

  5. Esaul says:

    Question Matt – To your knowledge is it typical for DVR ratings to play a factor in renewal process? I’ve read that it doesn’t really because of the importance of SD ratings due to commercials. It’s fascinating to see the general average for example of S.H.I.E.L.D. at a 2.82 (assuming I used the data properly) versus the 3.9 in Live +7 DVR ratings. While I think S.H.I.E.L.D. will get renewed regardless of DVR, just curious if DVR numbers do play a factor.

    • Michael says:

      Ratings play only a “small” part in a networks decision. Case in point? ABC’s Body of Proof was pulling in similar numbers to Castle last season and got canceled. Marketability, ability to turn a profit in syndication, cost of production are among the many factors.

      • Esaul says:

        Ratings still play a factor regardless, especially with new shows. Of course they’re going to cancel BoP over Castle. Body wasn’t close to syndication.

      • Dav says:

        Yes there are many factors that can affect a networks decision to renew a show but let’s not kid ourselves. Ratings are still the #1 factor and play a huge part.

      • gaby6034 says:

        @Michael WRONG! Body of proof Season 3 average: 1.37 rating and 8.03 million total viewers. Castle Season 5 average: 2.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 10.18 million total viewers.
        BOP season finale (3×13) 1.2 rating, Castle (5×24) 2.1. Big difference! BOP ratings were so low and with much weaker competition than Castle, so CANCELED !! :D

    • Alan says:

      product placement deals are now more important than standard advertising because of the use of DVRs so ratings are still as important as ever just used in a different way.

  6. ScrubsGuy says:

    For clarification, are the 18-49 Demo Leaders and TOTAL AUDIENCE LEADERS lists based on an average of all first-run episodes during the aforementioned period, factoring in Live+7? So if a show had a bigger hiatus in the fall, wouldn’t that make the comparison unfair?

    Based on the info, looks like PoI is no longer the number #3 drama on TV. …sad face….

    • HAP says:

      And its audience skews way old. According to the list POI was 6th in total audience, but didn’t even make the demo’s top 18. Wow.

  7. abz says:

    It’s a such a shame that The Good Wife never even made it on any of these lists, but I’m not surprised considering how CBS treats it like crap with that timeslot. Seriously people, check it out. It’s an amazing show!!

  8. Katelin says:

    Yes good wife! Please CBS move it out of that timeslot! I watch it online cause I can’t stand sitting around waiting for it to come on and don’t know when it starts!

    • JoyAnne says:

      They are killing both TGW and The Mentalist with the dreadful Sunday time slots. They both did great before they were moved there. CBS needs to move them back.

  9. gaby6034 says:

    weird. Castle demo live+7 is 3.3 (3.4+3.3+3.2+3.4+3.3+3.3+3.4+3.2+3.1+3.4)

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Not according to the official Nielsen data in front of me, sorry.

      • gaby6034 says:

        I found those numbers on tvbtn. They may have included “Still” repeat but I don’t know.

        • gaby6034 says:

          with “Still” repeat (1.0) avg. 3.09

        • Michael says:

          Nielsen doesn’t include repeats in the +7.

        • eridapo says:

          They do on these network reports. I asked Bill Gorman (of TBVTN) this question when the year end reports came out in June, and Bill said that in the year end report (and quarterly summaries) they include all airings of a show (including repeats).

          • eridapo says:

            Here is the data from the Live+7 Reports posted by TVBTNs (for Castle). The data comes from Nielsen. The Still information is from the Overnight finals reported on 12/10. When you account for the repeat, the data matches the above..

            Episode Title Viewers Live+SD Increase Increase Demo Viewers Live+7 Demo Live+7
            1 Valkyrie 11.459 2.2 4.457 1.2 15.916 3.4
            2 Dreamworld 10.884 2.2 4.159 1.1 15.043 3.3
            3 Need To Know 10.538 1.9 4.465 1.3 15.003 3.2
            4 Number One Fan 11.112 2.2 4.025 1.2 15.137 3.4
            5 Time Will Tell 10.592 1.9 4.667 1.4 15.259 3.3
            6 Get A Clue 10.687 2.1 4.188 1.2 14.875 3.3
            7 Like Father, Like Daughter 10.871 2.2 4.105 1.2 14.976 3.4
            8 A Murder is Forever 10.048 2 4.584 1.2 14.632 3.2
            9 Disciple 10.951 1.9 4.359 1.2 15.310 3.1
            10 The Good, The Bad, and The Baby 11.410 2.1 4.482 1.3 15.892 3.4

            Still (Repeat) 5.318 1
            Average 14.306 3.09

            This is helpful because all shows which had repeat airings would be affected. The more repeats that showed aired, the greater the difference (see TBBT).

  10. Cathi says:

    People aren’t sick of NCIS yet? It’s gotten so bad they barely even try to come up with a plot. And I completely agree about The Good Wife. It deserves so much more than CBS gives it.

    • Mandy says:

      Sorry, that’s your opinion–it seems 21,830,000 people disagree with you………

      • dan says:

        I’ve never seen NCIS, but I have friends who love the show! They are professionals, with adult children. They are outside the 18-49 demo, but they have plenty of disposable income to spend. I used to work in advertising so I get the whole 18-49 demo thing, but to me NCIS getting 21.8 million viewers is far more impressive than the demo numbers of other shows. I guess thats why I don’t work in advertising anymore!

    • Esaul says:

      Nope! I’m not sick of the show. The cast is great. I don’t even have a sense of nostalgia for older seasons either like I do with other shows I watch.

  11. DarkDefender says:

    Happy to see Castle in the top 12 overall. It’s been a great season so far.

  12. DavidSask says:

    Agents of Shield is no way legit with numbers now!

  13. cuius says:

    As ever, surprised the advertisers haven’t realized the generation who have money to spend – GYAC, it aint 18-49s

    • xav says:

      Pretty much. I fall pretty firmly in that demo but spend very little. All my money goes to rent and the rest into savings for an eventual mortgage. Whereas literally everyone I know between the 50-70 age bracket goes on multiple vacations every year, buy new cars every year and have all the newest gadgets because they can afford them.

    • JRK says:

      *sigh* I’m surprised that people are still tired of making this tired argument. Advertisers know very well who has the money to spend but they also know how easy it is to reach the 50+ crowd. Trust me they are marketing stuff to you and trying to get your money. It’s just that you pay more for what is harder to get. Simple as that.

    • Adam says:

      “advertisers haven’t realized….” Seriously? Advertising is a billion dollar business and you actually think that they haven’t researched it to death?!? With that much money at stake they know what they are doing. If you don’t like it well, stop watching live TV and start playing hard to get like the younger folks.

  14. Sandy says:

    Bravo to the Blacklist !! My favorite new show this fall ! At first I thought it would be Sleepy Hollow (what a good surprise), or Agents of Shield (not so good in fine), but the one I really really can’t wait to watch is definitely the Blacklist. So I’m glad the numbers are this good.

  15. Bill Scott says:

    I have a couple of questions about the numbers. It says that NCIS on CBS has 21,830,000 viewers. Is that 21,830,000 households or individual viewers? Secondly, where is everyone else? With 300,000,000 people in the country, you’d think the top rated shows would pull in numbers over 21 million. (Yes, I know there are hundreds of other choices, but most of them are repeats of shows from 20 years ago.)

    • Elyse says:

      if you have a Nielson box when you watch TV they make you tell them which person/people is your house is/are watching.

    • Dav says:

      Actually most of them are NOT repeats of shows from 20 years ago. There is an astonishing array of shows to chose from on cable and you are correct when you say there are hundreds of choices. In fact, cable has some of the hottest shows out there from The Walking Dead to Breaking Bad to Justified and lighter, fun fair like Psych and White Collar. And that’s just what is on cable. We haven’t even touched on the competition from NetFlix and Amazon who offer up some very good original content as well.

  16. sarah says:

    NBC was first mostly because of The Blacklist and The Voice, Chicago Fire is doing well too!
    That is a little surprising that ABC was fourth (it has Castle, Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy, to name a few).
    H50 may be near the bottom but I am glad it made the top 20! That improves the changes of renewal.

  17. Jane says:

    Dumb question, but what’s “The OT” (#4 on Demo list)? I’ve never heard of this?

  18. lame says:

    What surprised me the most was Person Of Interest’s 15,989,000 to Castle’s 14,298,000. Two of my favorite shows, but POI is so intense and dark, I didn’t think it would ever overtake Castle.
    What can you say about NCIS, having lost the fabulous Cote de Pablo and continuing to dominate the ratings. Was hoping Elementary would’ve scored higher but 17 of the top twenty isn’t bad.

  19. April says:

    Nice to see Criminal Minds still doing well.

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