NBC Claims No. 2 in Ratings for Full Broadcast Year

NBC says it leads Fox by a hair, but it isn’t following the typical TV calendar

NBC says it has completed the 2012-13 broadcast year in second place in viewers 18-49, marking only the second time in a decade that the Peacock has beaten Fox or ABC in a year with no boost from the Super Bowl or Olympics.

It leads Fox by a hair with four days left in the year.

Of course, where networks rank depends on how you count: In the traditional season, from September to May, Fox beat NBC in the key demo, with CBS leading all. But NBC believes the traditional season means less and less as summer programming becomes more important.

Both ABC and CBS beat NBC in total viewers for the full year. In the traditional season, ABC, CBS and Fox all beat NBC.

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NBC counts the full broadcast year as Sept. 24, 2012, through Sept. 22, 2013. Four nights remain in the year, as counted by NBC.

Here are the 18-49 numbers from Sept, 24, 2012 through Wednesday, in millions:

NBC: 2.715

Fox: 2.710

ABC: 2.508

NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told TheWrap in July that he doesn’t consider the traditional season to be as important as it used to be. Broadcasters historically have counted summer ratings separately from the rest of the year because they air fewer original shows in the summer.

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“But what’s the traditional season anymore?” said Greenblatt (pictured). “It’s an arbitrary number from September to May that was created by advertisers … We try to look at the whole year.”

Of course, those advertisers opinions matter: They pay the bills. However NBC presents the numbers, what matters is what ratings matter to ad buyers.

NBC also noted that in the adults 18-49 ranking, it finished within 0.3 of a point of top-rated CBS, which was boosted by February’s Super Bowl.