After strong fall, NBC slips to third place
NBC had a big fall, in two ways: Fox has surpassed it in the key ratings demographic to land in second place behind CBS, after NBC held the top spot in the beginning of the 2012-13 TV season.
That's the state of midseason ratings, as every network but CBS is down in both the key 18-49 demographic and total viewers. CBS is steady in the demo and up slightly in viewers, thanks in large part to airing the Super Bowl last month.
NBC's glorious autumn was notable because the network lagged in fourth place for years before tying ABC in the 2011-12 season and then, with help from "The Voice" and "Revolution," scoring first place in the key 18-49 demographic in early months of the current season.
But now things are looking more familiar — with a few changes to the normal order of recent years. CBS is the most-viewed network overall, as it usually is. But it is also beating Fox in the 18-49 demo in which Fox usually leads.
Fox has gained ground, however, surpassing NBC in the demo.
ABC is fourth in the demo, but the second-most watched network overall, followed by NBC and Fox.
The remainder of the season is up in the air. NBC's big guns, "The Voice" and "Revolution," return this month. But "The Voice" returns with new judges Usher and Shakira, and their ratings power is unproven.
Fox' "Idol," meanwhile, has lower ratings, so there's no telling whether it will have the strong finales of the past.
Last season, "Sunday Night Football" was television's top show, followed by "Idol" and "The Voice." "SNF" will almost certainly be the top show again.
But the top non-sports show is far from settled. It could, for the first time, be a cable series: AMC's "The Walking Dead" has surged this season.