Sunday Night Football, Empire Top Ratings for 2014-15 Season; Forever Among Highest-Rated Axed Shows

NBC’s Sunday Night Football and Fox’s Empire placed No. 1 and No. 2 for the 2014-15 TV season, with average ratings of 7.3 and 7.1 in the coveted 18-49 demo, respectively.

As reported this week, NBC won the season in the demo, while CBS remains the most watched net.

In the demo, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory — averaging a 6.5 rating this season, including any available Live+7 DVR playback data — easily led the comedy pack, while ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder (5.0) and Scandal (4.5) placed a distant second and third in the drama race behind Empire.

Of the Top 20 non-sports entertainment programs, ABC led with seven, followed by CBS’ six. NBC had four, Fox three.

In total viewers, NCIS (21.4 mil) and Big Bang (21.3 mil) repeated as the season’s most watched drama and comedy. All told, CBS had 11 of the Top 20 most watched entertainment programs; ABC had five.

Fun fact: This season the two top new dramas (Empire and How to Get Away With Murder), the No. 1 new comedy (black-ish) and the highest-rated returning drama (Scandal) all featured African-American leads.

Here are my hand-curated rankings for the broadcast networks’ assorted offerings; last season’s can be found hereHit Comments to share what surprises, delights or depresses you.

TOP RETURNING COMEDY | 18-49 DEMO
1 | The Big Bang Theory, CBS (6.5 rating, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | Modern Family, ABC (5.4)
3 | The Goldbergs, ABC (3.2)
4 | Family Guy, FOX (3.2)
5 | Two and a Half Men, CBS (3.1)
In Total Viewers | The Big Bang Theory (21.3 million)

TOP NEW COMEDY | 18-49 DEMO
1 | black-ish, ABC (3.3, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | The Odd Couple, CBS (2.9)
3 | Last Man on Earth, FOX (2.8)
4 | Fresh Off the Boat, ABC (2.4)
5 | Galavant, ABC (1.9)
In Total Viewers | The Odd Couple (12 million)

TOP RETURNING DRAMA | 18-49 DEMO
1 | Scandal, ABC (4.5, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | The Blacklist, NBC (4.2)
3 | Grey’s Anatomy, ABC (3.9)
4 | Criminal Minds, CBS (3.7)
5 | NCIS, CBS (3.6)
In Total Viewers | NCIS (21.4 million)

TOP NEW DRAMA | 18-49 DEMO
1 | Empire, FOX (7.1, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | How to Get Away With Murder, ABC (5.0)
3 | Gotham, FOX (3.7)
4 | Scorpion, CBS (3.6)
5 | NCIS: New Orleans, CBS (2.9)
In Total Viewers | NCIS: New Orleans (18.6 million)

TOP REALITY SHOW | 18-49 DEMO
1 | The Voice (Monday), NBC (4.2, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | The Voice (Tuesday), NBC (4.0)
3 | Survivor, CBS (3.1)
4 | The Bachelor, ABC (3.0)
5 | American Idol (Thursday), FOX (2.9)
In Total Viewers | Dancing With the Stars, ABC (15 million)

TOP-RATED CANCELLED* SHOWS | 18-49 DEMO
1 | The Following, FOX (2.1, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
1 | CSI, CBS (2.1)
2 | Forever, ABC (2.0)
2 | Revenge, ABC (2.0)
2 | Resurrection, ABC (2.0)
2 | The Millers, CBS (2.0)
In Total Viewers | CSI, CBS (11.2 million)
* Versus series that entered their announced final seasons

LOWEST-RATED RENEWED SHOWS (SCRIPTED) | 18-49 DEMO
1 | The 100, The CW (0.9, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | Jane, The CW (0.8)
3 | Reign, The CW (0.7)
Total Viewers | Reign (1.75 million)

TOP 10 BY DEMO
NBC Sunday Night Football, NBC (7.3)
Empire, Fox (7.1)
The Big Bang Theory, CBS (6.5)
Thursday Night Football, CBS/NFL (5.9)
Modern Family, ABC (5.4)
How to Get Away With Murder, ABC (5.0)
The OT, FOX (4.6)
Scandal, ABC (4.5)
The Blacklist, NBC (4.2)
The Voice (Monday), NBC (4.2)

TOP 10 BY TOTAL VIEWERS
NCIS, CBS (21.4 million)
The Big Bang Theory,
CBS (21.3 million)
Sunday Night Football,
NBC (20.8 million)
NCIS: New Orleans,
CBS (18.6 million)
Empire,
FOX (17.3 million)
Thursday Night Football,
CBS/NFL (17.1 million)
The Blacklist,
NBC (15.4 million)
Scorpion,
CBS (15.2 million)
Blue Bloods,
CBS (15.1 million)
Dancing With the Stars,
ABC (15 million)