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Tokyo Olympics Push NBC to First 52-Week Season Outright Viewership Win in 3 Years

”Sunday Night Football,“ ”The Voice,“ ”AGT“ and ”This Is Us“ certainly pitched in

NBC has won the 52-week 2020-21 TV season in both adults 18-49 and among total viewers for the first time in three years.

While NBC is no stranger to winning the key demo, as it now has seven of the past eight years, CBS regularly claims that “America’s Most-Watched Network” crown. Not this time — despite CBS having Super Bowl LV.

The delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics tipped the scales in NBC’s favor this summer. “Sunday Night Football,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Voice” and “This Is Us” also pitched in.

The 2020-21 season ended on Sunday, so while we’re still waiting on some final delayed-viewing statistics, they won’t change the standings.

Among adults 18-49, Fox finished one-tenth of a ratings point behind NBC. CBS and ABC tied behind those two.

In terms of overall audience members, NBC bested CBS by a mere 30,000 viewers. ABC and Fox were pretty far behind.

See those rankings below.

Adults 18-49
NBC: 1.0
Fox: 0.9
CBS: 0.8
ABC: 0.8

Total viewers
NBC: 5.290 million
CBS: 5.260 million
ABC: 4.307 million
Fox: 3.558 million

“In an era with no shortage of viewing options, the reach and impact of broadcast television is still undeniable,” Frances Berwick, the chairman of NBCUniversal’s television and streaming entertainment networks, said in a statement on Tuesday. “NBC remains a pillar of strength both within our portfolio as well as the larger television landscape, and we’re excited about the future as we continue to grow and connect our TV and streaming business.”

Susan Rovner, the group’s content chairman, added: “The distinction of Most Watched Network is a testament to the depth and quality of our programming, which continues to consistently deliver many of television’s biggest hits, night after night and across all genres. NBC is honored to be in the top position with viewers and we plan to ride this momentum into the next 52 weeks with one of our most dynamic programming lineups to date.”

Sans sports, ABC would have won the 52-week season in the key demo. CBS would have won in terms of total viewers.

Under a sports-less scenario, NBC would have finished in second place in both Nielsen metrics.