Fall TV: NBC Holds Off CBS to Win Fifth Straight Premiere Week in Key Demo

CBS dominates total viewers, however

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NBC has officially won its fifth-straight fall premiere week among the advertiser-sought 18-49 demographic — but this was a close one. CBS broke away from the pack in total viewers, however.

The demo’s No. 1 network’s “This Is Us” and “The Good Place” were the top new drama and comedy debuts among the aforementioned age-range, respectively. Those two new series, plus “Sunday Night Football” and two episodes of “The Voice,” handed NBC five of the top 10 shows last week.

CBS’ “Kevin Can Wait” did tie “The Good Place” initially, though the NBC sitcom pulled away when three-day delayed-viewing numbers came in. That’s the last point we’ll make about L+3 numbers until Friday, when every night has the benefit of those extra 72 hours.

Here are the premiere-week averages for all programs. All numbers below are Nielsen’s live-plus-same-day numbers, to include the entire week.

Adults 18-49 Rating
NBC: 2.51
CBS: 2.46
ABC: 1.34
Fox: 1.23

Excluding sports and live news, ABC would actually leapfrog CBS. Plus, Fox would tie the Les Moonves-led network.

Total Viewers
CBS: 11.2 million
NBC: 8.7 million
ABC: 5.9 million
Fox: 3.6 million

The total-viewer rankings would stay the same in entertainment-only programming.

NBC’s five-year demo win streak ties for the longest one in Nielsen People Meter history.