TV Rankings 2015-2016 Ratings

Sunday Night Football, Empire Top Ratings for 2015-16 Season; Limitless Among Highest-Rated Axed Shows

NBC’s Sunday Night Football and Fox’s Empire placed No. 1 and No. 2 for the 2015-16 TV season — just as they did last year — this time with average ratings of 7.5 and 6.4 in the coveted 18-49 demo, respectively.

For the season, CBS (which hosted the Super Bowl) led all broadcasters in both the demo (averaging a 2.3) and in total viewers (averaging 10.9 million). NBC placed second with an average 2.1 rating and 8.1 million viewers. (Rounding out the Big 5, Fox averaged 1.9 and 5.7 million, ABC did 1.8 and 6.8 million, and The CW averaged 0.8 and 2 million.)

In the demo, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory — averaging a 5.8 rating this season, including any available Live+7 DVR playback data — easily led the comedy pack (while slipping 11 percent year over year). On the drama side, Fox’s The X-Files (4.8) and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (3.6) placed a distant second and third behind Empire.

Of the Top 20 non-sports entertainment programs (including two ties), ABC led with seven, followed by CBS’ six. NBC had five, Fox four.

In total viewers, NCIS (20.2 mil) and Big Bang (20.4 mil) repeated as the season’s most watched drama and comedy. All told, CBS had 11 of the Top 20 most watched entertainment programs; NBC had four.

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 (5.8 rating, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | Modern Family, ABC (3.4)
3 | The Goldbergs, ABC (2.5)
4 | black-ish, ABC (2.4)
5 | 2 Broke Girls, CBS (2.3)
In Total Viewers | The Big Bang Theory (20.4 million)

TOP NEW COMEDY | 18-49 DEMO
1 | Life in Pieces, CBS (2.7, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | Superstore, NBC (2.1)
3 | Angel From Hell, CBS (1.9; cancelled)
4 | The Muppets, ABC (1.9, cancelled)
5 | Dr. Ken, ABC (1.4)
In Total Viewers | Life in Pieces (10.5 million)

TOP RETURNING DRAMA | 18-49 DEMO
1 | Empire, FOX (6.4, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | The X-Files, FOX (4.8)
3 | Grey’s Anatomy, ABC (3.6)
4 | How to Get Away With Murder, ABC (3.5)
5 | Scandal, ABC (3.4)
In Total Viewers | NCIS (20.2 million)

TOP NEW DRAMA | 18-49 DEMO
1 | Blindspot, NBC (3.1, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | Quantico, ABC (2.6)
3 | Lucifer, FOX (2.4)
4 | Supergirl, CBS (2.4; moving to The CW)
5 | Chicago Med, NBC (2.3)
5 | Shades of Blue, NBC (2.3)
In Total Viewers | Blindspot (10.8 million)

TOP REALITY SHOW | 18-49 DEMO
1 | The Voice (Monday), NBC (3.4, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | The Voice (Tuesday), NBC (3.1)
3 | American Idol (Wednesday), FOX (3.0)
4 | The Bachelor, ABC (3.0)
5 | American Idol (Thursday), FOX (2.8)
5 | Survivor, CBS (2.8)
In Total Viewers | Dancing With the Stars, ABC (13.4 million)

TOP-RATED CANCELLED SHOWS | 18-49 DEMO
1 | Limitless, CBS (2.2, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | Heroes Reborn, NBC (2.2)
3 | Mike & Molly, CBS (2.0)
4 | Angel From Hell, CBS (1.9)
5 | The Muppets, ABC (1.9)
In Total Viewers | Limitless, CBS (9.8 million)

LOWEST-RATED RENEWED SHOWS (SCRIPTED) | 18-49 DEMO
1 | The Originals, The CW (0.6, including any available Live+7 DVR playback)
2 | Jane the Virgin, The CW (0.6)
3 | Reign, The CW (0.5)
In Total Viewers | Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (1.03 million)

TOP 10 OVERALL BY DEMO
NBC Sunday Night Football, NBC (7.5, +3% year over year)
Empire, FOX (6.4, -10%)
The Big Bang Theory, CBS (5.8, -11%)
Thursday Night Football, CBS/NFL (5.7, -3%)
The X-Files, FOX (4.8, NA)
The OT, FOX (4.4, -4%)
Grey’s Anatomy, ABC (3.6, -8%)
How to Get Away With Murder, ABC (3.5, -30%)
Modern Family, ABC (3.4, -37%)
Scandal, ABC (3.4, -24%)

TOP 10 OVERALL BY TOTAL VIEWERS
Sunday Night Football, NBC (20.8 million, +3% year over year)
The Big Bang Theory, CBS (21.3 million, -4%)
NCIS, CBS (21.4 million, -6%)
Thursday Night Football, CBS/NFL (17.1 million, NC)
Empire, FOX (17.3 million, -9%)
NCIS: New Orleans, CBS (14.8 million, -20%)
The X-Files, FOX (13.6 million, NA)
Dancing With the Stars, ABC (13.4 million, -11%)
The Voice (Monday), NBC (13.3 million)
Blue Bloods, CBS (13.1 million, -13%)

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