NBC Wins the 2013-14 TV Season, for First Time in 10 Years; CBS Is Still Most Watched Network

Ratings NBC Wins 2013-14 Tv SeasonFor the first time in 10 years, NBC has come away with the season-long demo win, unseating last year’s champ, CBS.

Averaging a 2.7 rating during primetime among Adults 18-49, NBC for the 2013-14 TV season was up 13 percent year-over-year — the Peacock’s biggest demo gain in at least 26 years and the largest uptick for any Big 4 network in nine years. Fox placed second for the season by matching last year’s 2.5 rating, followed by CBS (2.4, down 17 percent) and ABC (2.1, down 5 percent).

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Even with its 18 nights of Sochi Winter Olympics coverage subtracted from the equation, NBC (just barely) boasts the largest 18-49 audience, edging out Super Bowl-boosted Fox 3.18 million demo viewers to 3.13 million.

NBC enjoyed its biggest gains on Tuesday and Wednesday, where it was up 15 percent. On Mondays, thanks in part to the season’s No. 1 new drama, The Blacklist, it rose 10 percent.

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In total audience, NBC grew 33 percent to an average of 9.3 million, landing at No. 2 behind CBS (which can tout itself as “America’s Most Watched Network” for a sixth straight year and 11 out of the last 12). That marks the first time in a decade NBC has placed above No. 4 in that measure, while the addition of 2.3 million viewers represents the largest gross gain for any network in 25 years.

CBS — which can claim TV’s most watched comedy (Big Bang Theory), new comedy (The Millers) and drama (NCIS) — averaged 10.7 million viewers, down 9 percent in audience versus the year prior, while ABC (7.6 million) dipped 3 percent and Fox (7.35 mil) inched up 4 percent.

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89 Comments
  1. Nate says:

    Ah, CBS…”America’s Most Watched Network, because our viewers can’t figure out the remote.”

    • JJM says:

      Dem oldertimers with their alzheimers.

    • Jimpy says:

      “Back in My day we didn’t have them newfangled remotes, that’s what we has kids for. Hey Billy, stop taking pictures of the cat and putting them on the internet and change the channel to rastling.”

      Maybe I’m getting old, but except for a The Big Bang Theory, today’s comedies don’t do it for me. I seem to have developed a taste for police procedurals. CBS may be the last broadcast network standing as far as my viewership goes, but increasingly cable is my viewing choice. Six or eight years ago my cable viewing was mostly Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Animal Planet or History Channel. Science Channel is still OK, but with the exception of Mythbusters, Discovery Channel has weirded out, in my opinion. I barely recognize the other two anymore. But increasingly the other cable networks are grabbing my attention with programming I like and sometimes naked crazy dragon ladies.

      • Angela says:

        I don’t get the “CBS is for old people” jokes at all. I’m in my 20s and I watch things on that channel, as do many of my friends.
        And even if the channel is targeted at older people…why do people think that’s worth mocking?

        • jenna says:

          agreed

        • mary says:

          Agreed! It’s getting old.

        • Dawn Weaver says:

          Add me to the list. I’m 27 and watch shows on CBS, so what? As for mocking older people, well, I have an 84 year old grandmother who is extremely tech savvy–to me, these stupid comments about older people just show how ignorant some people are.

          • Angela says:

            That, too! Meanwhile, I’m part of the age group that most technological devices are targeted at and yet I don’t own them nor do I have much experience in using them.
            It’s very strange, some people’s attitudes.

        • leia says:

          IT s because the narcissists who have to be heard, can only think of that one mantra.

    • Et al. says:

      Lol!

  2. Ginger says:

    It’s interesting. Most of my shows are on ABC. I prefer ABC for my morning and evenings news programs as well. GMA is much preferable… Interesting.

  3. Jss0058 says:

    ABC really needs a hit and/or weekly “event” programming (like football) to help launch new shows. They had the opportunity with Modern Family but squandered that by putting bad shows after it (excluding happy endings of course) NBC has been able to use The Voice, football, the Olympics to launch things so I’m not suprised they won this year.

    • S. says:

      Feels more like they just need to commission as many shows from Shonda Rhimes as possible.

      • herman1959 says:

        Yes, and then spread them out – why do they all have to be scheduled for Thursday? And GA ending up at 8:00…PLEASE!

  4. JC1 says:

    Isn’t that mostly due to Sunday Night Football? I wonder where they’d stand with that factored out.

  5. TullaT says:

    Hannibal is a fantastic show and NBC deserved this win.

    • Alex says:

      Hannibal dragged NBC’s average down rather than helping it.

    • crog says:

      Hannibal definitely doesn’t help it become #1, with under 3 million viewers and a 1.0

    • Mikael says:

      Hannibal may not have the quantity when it comes to ratings, but it definitely gives NBC points when it comes to quality. It’s very well-written and well-acted. I’m glad that NBC renewed it for a 3rd season.

  6. nikki says:

    Thank you Jack Donaghy!

  7. brycealexander says:

    Good for NBC, which has definitely been the underdog for the first time. I’m sure increased ratings across the board are what’s led to the cancellations of shows like Community, The Michael J. Fox Show, and even next year’s Parks ending. NBC is finally here to play, and it can’t hold onto low-rated stragglers, however beloved they may be. I’m surprised the article didn’t mention how About a Boy’s ratings helped (they’re about double NBC’s other comedies) as well as Jimmy Fallon’s takeover of The Tonight Show. In any case, I’m very happy for NBC today. Now Fox and ABC need to start helping with the dethroning of CBS.

    • Ana says:

      Lol, NBC also won last year so it’s not the underdog people think it is. It’s scripted ratings are crap but The Voice and Football inflates its overall ratings.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      This is merely about primetime ratings, ergo no late-night TV mentions.

    • Ray says:

      Have to disagree with you about the Michael J. Fox show. That was canceled because it was a terrible sitcom so viewers did not care to tune in.

    • Watch About A Boy shrivel up and die 8 PM on Thursdays. Community had an uphill battle for its entire run and most shows could not do better in its place.

  8. Coal says:

    For a channel that axed 3 shows this season (Ironside, Believe, Crisis) only a few episodes in that’s amazing. Two cycles of The Voice a season also doesn’t hurt. The Blacklist being the only drama that gets over a 2.0 rating should be a worrying factor.

  9. Coal says:

    I’m subject to correction on this because I’m not from the U.S., but isn’t CBS America’s most watched channel (demographics aside) also because it also has more scripted programming than ABC, NBC, Fox and CW ?

    • amanda says:

      ABC and NBC have the same amount of timeslots. CW and FOX dont have the 10pm hour of primetime

    • Bartleby says:

      CBS is most watched overall, but NBC won the 18-49 group, which is the most important in ratings. CBS gets inflated because elderly people think it’s the only station that exists.

      • tv2day says:

        Shows I watch not counting NFL on CBS/fox/NBC/ESPN or NBA:

        CBS (3)
        Nbc (2)
        Fox (3)
        CW (5)
        USA (4)
        FX (4)
        ABC (2)
        TNT (3)
        HIS (1)

        • Ally Oop says:

          Networks/Channels and number of shows I watched in the 2014-2015 season, not counting sports or specials (Note, I’m a 30-year-old female)
          CW (7)
          CANADIAN NETWORKS (7)
          ABC (5)
          NBC (4)
          FOX (2)
          SYFY (2)
          USA NETWORK (1)
          TNT (1)
          PBS (1)
          WGN (1)
          CBS (1)
          BBC AMERICA (1)
          HISTORY (1)
          MTV (1)
          NETFLIX (1)

      • Becky says:

        Bartleby – stop being an ass. What’s wrong with you?

      • mary says:

        Again, getting old.

      • Dawn Weaver says:

        Again with the snide comments about older people–my grandparents watch a variety of television (as do their friends) and many are not on CBS. Have proof to back up that claim?

  10. Babybop says:

    It’s so interesting that CBS has the most viewers, but is third in the demo. Good for NBC, they tend to produce my favorite shows.

    • Bartleby says:

      CBS has your (and everyone else’s) grandparents to thank for being most watched overall.

      • Dawn Weaver says:

        Really? Where’s your proof and link to it? Or are you just being stupid on purpose?

        • Juju says:

          CBS has the most viewers overall but is third in the all-important 18-49 demo. It is therefore safe to assume that many of CBS’s viewers — the ones that get them to the No. 1 spot overall — are over 49.

  11. Bob Smith says:

    My wife and I are smack dab in the middle of the all important demo and we watch more CBS than other nets. The ratings don’t mean a thing other than the money on Madison Ave.

  12. Ava says:

    The Blacklist is one of my favorite shows. ;)

    • Tran says:

      What are the odds The Blacklist is going to topped Scandal in the 9 p.m. Thursday night time slot come mid-season 2015?

      • jenna says:

        I’m not sure if they appeal to the same demographic but it will be interesting to see who comes out on top, especially with blacklists timeslot change.

      • Jazzyt2u says:

        That sucks because I really like both shows… But I will watch Scandal live.

  13. Joseph says:

    For 2014 , NBC is going to have some issues
    The Voice , will fall a few points due to the current format. As the producers reduce the number of live shows down to a trivial amount he audience will continue to drop.

    About a Boy , will be hurt because the network is moving it to 9:30, with a poor lead in, and because it will go head to head at the mid hour against SHIELD and NCIS New Orleans.

    THURSDAY , CBS Primetime Football, ,, enough said ,

    • Tran says:

      What are the odds CBS Thursday Night Football is going to topped the other three networks (ABC, NBC and Fox) besides the CW?

  14. Steve says:

    Now wait for the articles that point out that the broadcast networks are all but dead due to dropping 18-49 ratings. The idea that 18-49 performance is all important to success in media just doesn’t wash in today’s world. Many on the younger side of that demographic don’t even watch live broadcast TV. CBS has renewed Blue Bloods (for example) for a reason – and it isn’t because they can’t live without “winning” in 18-49. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter at all, but I am saying that it doesn’t matter much. There are a lot of more ways to profit from media distribution (over multiple platforms to diverse audiences) – and THAT is what matters.

    • Ana says:

      You can’t say something like that and then not back it up with evidence. Blue Bloods is one example but most of the shows that got canceled this tv season were low rated in demo. Yes, there are other ways to profit but the 18-49 demo is still a big part.

  15. ? says:

    Good news for them, but their position is still shaky at best. If they’re not careful they may kill their golden goose the Voice by over-running it and then they’ll be right back at the bottom again. Numbers are numbers, but it doesn’t exactly mean they have a healthy schedule.

  16. Chris says:

    But at what cost NBC? At what cost? The exact cost of a sixth season, and a movie… #SaveGreendale

    • ChicagoDan says:

      Yeah, NBC kept that ratings challenged show on the air for FIVE seasons. The real party to blame is DAN HARMON, who has decided HE has moved on and won’t entertain offers to move to another network. You should be grateful that NBC aired it for so long. It would’ve been quickly cancelled on any other network. Be happy for the five season and 97 episodes.

    • analog says:

      Time to get over it…

  17. wyliesue62 says:

    And yet they cancelled my Revolution. :(

    • Pat says:

      Matt, I am a little upset that some commenters seem to make fun of the elderly, on this site. I hope that all of their parents and grandparents are in good health and none of them have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any debilitating disease. Sorry for posting this, but I have seen this before on some of your sites especially when it has to do with some of the CBS shows.

    • Pat says:

      To wyliesue62, I have no idea why my comment was posted as a reply to you. I apologize.

  18. Coal says:

    So if it was solely based on scripted programming leave out all the reality shows, sport programming and variety shows, which channel win the demo ?

    • Brian says:

      ESPN?? because there’s no reality or sports in half the interviews/recap shows and by the time the ads go, not a lot of sport?? 8^)

  19. Tran says:

    Guess this is why CBS has been #1 for about a decade because several of its shows has been on the air for no more than 10 seasons. How long will shows like NCIS, Big Bang Theory and a few others will ever going to end and how long will it take for Survivor to end since it never got canceled in the first place since its debut in 2000? Very happy to see NBC getting out of the “ratings basement” for several years and its all because of great entertainment like Sunday Night Football, The Voice and especially The Blacklist. With Blacklist moving to Thursdays come February 2015, going up against Scandal at 9 p.m. is a big “something” but it may have a big boost to overcome that not since CSI and Grey’s Anatomy when toe-to-toe in the 9 p.m. Thursday night time slot since Fall 2006.

    • Joseph says:

      Except that The Voice is down about .5 from season 5 , and it would not surprise me if that trend continues with season 6.
      During season 6 of The Voice the audience had minimal interaction in the selection of the finalist, and the artists only sang a handful of songs.
      I expect to see a further decline in both the demo and audience next season

  20. An Irrelevant says:

    Maybe people that watch CBS just don’t like alot of the stupid crap reality shows that ate on the other networks? Ever think o’ that??

  21. An Irrelevant says:

    *are* damn auto-correct!

  22. Me2 says:

    I just turned 50 last week. That means that I am no longer important and advertisers no longer want my money apparently. That’s kind of a shame because I’m actually not afraid to spend it.
    It also means that if Madison Avenue doesn’t care about someone as old and useless as me, I know longer have to care about silly things like ratings. I can actually just watch what I want to and what I enjoy without the pressure of someone trying to get me to buy their stuff.

    • S. says:

      They don’t care about your money. They care that statistically you’re more likely to be brand-loyal than someone 25-49. If ads are less likely to change your mind, you’re not what they want. You might argue you’re not as brand loyal as they think you are, but doesn’t matter. As a whole, is the point.

  23. mdbchud says:

    Wow, I watch SO much tv, and only ONE show I watch (Grimm) is on NBC. Just seems strange they won

    • Brian says:

      As the article said, because of Blacklist, which is the best new show of the season, and one of the best shows of the last 10 years, and I’ll be waiting on tenterhooks for next season!!

  24. TB says:

    With Revolution off NBC, I’m no longer watching anything on NBC and I’m in the oh so important demo (27F). I used to watch ChiFi and tried to like Chicago PD, but with Revolution’s cancellation, I’m officially done with NBC. Especially because in the same press release on SpoilerTV it touts that Revolution had a 47% gain from last year on Wed at 8pm.

  25. Mandy says:

    I ended up not having as much time to watch tv this year and had to cut several from what I watch and the ones cut were mostly CBS. Not because I didn’t like them but because most of them have been on the air a longtime and seem to get repetitive. The ones I kept watching (Chicago PD, Fire & Grimm) were able to keep me hooked even when I had less time to watch.

    • Brian says:

      A pity, because you missed some excellent episodes. Whereas I missed all your shows as they were unable to get me hooked to start with. That’s why none of the shows get anything like a majority viewing share.

  26. I looked at the list of 32 “Hot Shows” and of those my wife and I watch only 2. Also, I saw where NBC was the most watched. That was probably because of and not necessarily in any particular order – Revolution, Believe, Crisis, About a Boy, Growing up Fisher and for sure The Voice. So what does NBC do it cancels 4 of the 6 we watched. Well I guess we won’t be watching NBC that much>

  27. I’m amused at the comments calling viewers of CBS old, while they then go on to describe how they watch cable. I have news for you. Young adults don’t watch cable much either. They stream video over the internet. If you are watching cable while making fun of CBS viewers’ age, you are simply advertising to those younger than you that you are older than you think and that you are stuck in a rut just like the one you laugh about CBS viewers being in.

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