3 Series Each Broadcast Network Is Most Thankful for This Season

Bow your heads, CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC and CW execs

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Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for the blessings we have in our lives. And despite the troubles facing the broadcast networks in recent years, with eroding audiences and the rise in streaming giants, there are some bright spots on each network’s lineup: the entertainment series that likely got a mention in executives’ recitals of grace before dinner yesterday.

Below are the three highest-rated primetime shows among adults 18-49 on each of the free over-the-air channels. The numbers are from Nielsen’s “most current” ratings metric, and include a week’s worth of delayed viewing (mostly DVR catchup) where available.

We excluded sports programming here, as the NFL would have (gobble) gobbled up the top few slots for NBC and Fox. Note: We dragged certain series out to two decimal places just to break ties.




  1. “Survivor”: 1.74 rating
  2. “NCIS”: 1.68 rating
  3. “Young Sheldon”: 1.5 rating

How could CBS not be thankful for a reality competition thriving in its 39th (not a typo) season? Meanwhile, “NCIS” is currently the most-watched show on television for the 10th out of the last 11 seasons. (NBC’s “This Is Us” was No. 1 in total viewers in 2017-18, when it had the post-Super Bowl time slot.)

“Young Sheldon” is no “Big Bang Theory” — at this same point last season, “BBT” averaged a whopping 3.6 rating — but the spinoff still podiums for CBS.

This Is Us - Season 4



  1. “This Is Us”: 2.7 rating
  2. “Chicago Fire”: 1.8 rating
  3. “Chicago P.D.”: 1.74 rating

There’s a third “Chicago” show that doesn’t make the cut here — but it’s pretty close. “Chicago Med” is currently averaging a 1.6 rating in the key demo.

That is good enough for sixth on NBC’s schedule, as singing competition “The Voice” makes up the next two slots.

Masked Singer Kelly Osbourne Ladybug



  1. “The Masked Singer”: 2.9 rating
  2. “9-1-1”: 2.3 rating
  3. “The Simpsons”: 1.6 rating

South Korean import “The Masked Singer” is the first smash-hit alternative series to launch on broadcast TV since “X-Factor” debuted on Fox back in 2011.

And even “Survivor” has to tip its cap to Fox’s “The Simpsons,” still going strong in its remarkable 31st season.

Greys Anatomy



  1. “Grey’s Anatomy”: 2.2 rating
  2. “Modern Family”: 1.7 rating
  3. “The Conners”: 1.53 rating

Good news, bad news for ABC. “Modern Family” is still the network’s highest-rated comedy, but all those years of Dunphy fun come to an end this spring with the sitcom’s series finale.

“Grey’s Anatomy,” currently in its 16th season, is no spring chicken either, but it has already been renewed through at least next year.

The Flash

The CW

The CW

  1. “The Flash”: 0.8 rating
  2. “Batwoman”: 0.52 rating
  3. “Riverdale”: 0.51 rating

Yes, these are much lower ratings than the so-called “Big 4” competition above. The CW is the youngest-skewing of the broadcast networks, which can be felt in the middle and upper portions of what we generally consider the key demo for companies that advertise on television entertainment programming. It is also the most digitally centric, which makes sense, considering the audience drawn to shows based on DC Comics superheroes or the Archie comics universe.

Now, enjoy the turkey day leftovers, readers, and be sure to load up on some Black Friday deals like those mashed potatoes.

But before you take another tryptophan-induced nap, check out the below leftovers — err, honorable mentions — for the current broadcast season to date. After all, it’s now the Christmas season and we’re feeling generous.

One more apiece:
CBS: “FBI” (1.24)
NBC: “The Voice” (1.72)
Fox: “Prodigal Son” (1.4)
ABC: “The Good Doctor” (1.48)
The CW: “Supernatural” (0.39)

Tony Maglio

Tony Maglio

TV Editor • tony.maglio@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tonymaglio


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