NBC Tops Key Ratings Demo for 2013-2014 Season

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CBS retains most-watched status for 11 of the past 12 seasons

NBC emerged victorious in the ratings race for the 2013-2014 television season, taking first place in the 18-49 demographic most important to advertisers.

From September to May, NBC averaged a 2.7 rating — the best rating among the Big Four networks and the first season-long win for the network in 10 years.

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Through May 18, NBC averaged a 2.7 — a 13 percent bump over the previous season’s 2.4 average. CBS slid 17 percent in the demo compared to the previous season, dropping from a 2.9 to a 2.4 to take second place.

Fox held steady for the season for a third-place 2.5, while ABC took fourth place for the season, sliding marginally to a 2.1 rating.

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In total viewers, NBC rose an impressive 33 percent season-to-season — but it still took a back seat to CBS, which was the most-watched network — for the 11th time in the past 12 years — for the season with an average 10.7 million (a 9 percent dip from the previous season), compared to NBC’s second-place 9.3 million. ABC dipped slightly for a third-place 7.6 million, while Fox inched up for a fourth-place 7.4 million. (The good news for NBC on the total viewer front? The season marked the first time that NBC finished above fourth place in a decade.)

Performing particularly well for NBC were “Sunday Night Football,” the season’s best-rated and most-watched program; “The Voice,” which ranked as the third best-rated series overall and the top reality series; and “The Blacklist,” which in addition to being the season’s top new series was the second best-rated drama.

While CBS took second place in the key demo, it did retain some bragging rights regarding the 18-49 crowd; in addition to taking first in the demo for primetime when sports are excluded (which, granted, is a significant exclusion), the network performed well in the demo with comedies, scoring seven of the top 10 best-rated comedies, including the top-rated comedy “The Big Bang Theory.”