NBC Wins September-to-May Season in TV Ratings, Its 5th in 6 Years

And CBS claims another in total viewers

Last Updated: May 23, 2019 @ 9:10 AM

With two nights left to count, NBC is poised to win its third-straight September-to-May season in TV ratings — its fifth victory in six years. CBS will pretty comfortably take the traditional Nielsen season in terms of total viewers.

NBC edging out CBS for a victory in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic is impressive considering that it didn’t have the Super Bowl, “Thursday Night Football” (which was previously shared by NBC and CBS, but moved to Fox last fall) or the Winter Olympics over the 2018-19 TV season — all of which aired on the network during the 2017-18 span.

Meanwhile, CBS broadcast this year’s big game and the final season of its long-running ratings star “The Big Bang Theory,” but also felt the loss of “TNF.”

The last time NBC did not win the September-to-May season in the key 18-49 demo was back in 2015-16, the last time CBS had the Super Bowl.

Ahead of the traditional TV season’s end this week, NBC is averaging a 1.6 rating in the demo, coming in first in a close race against CBS and Fox, which tied for second place, both with a 1.5. ABC is in fourth with a 1.2 and The CW is bringing up the rear with a 0.4, according to the “most current” averages from Nielsen.

When it comes to the overall-eyeballs competition, CBS reigns supreme for its 11th straight season (and 16th out of 17) with an average of 8.9 million total viewers. NBC comes in second, scoring 7.2 million viewers, ABC is in third with 5.6 million, Fox is close behind with 5.4 million, and The CW is in fifth place with 1.3 million.

NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was once-again TV’s top show in the key demo, averaging a 6.1 rating. Fox’s “Thursday Night Football” (which, as we said before, aired on both CBS and NBC during the 2017-18 season) came in second with a gaudy 4.4 rating. NBC’s “SNF” pre-game show landed in third with a 4.0 rating. That same network’s “This Is Us” is tied for fourth place with Fox’s freshman singing competition, “The Masked Singer,” both of which scored a 3.8 rating. The final season of CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” is in sixth with a 3.6.

In terms of total viewers, “SNF” is currently No. 1 with 19.3 million viewers versus “Big Bang Theory’s” 17.3 million. “NCIS” is averaging 15.6 million viewers, while Fox’s “TNF” drew 14.42 million. CBS’ “Young Sheldon” ranks next, with 14.37 million viewers, and then “This Is Us,” with 13.8 million.

Below are the raw by-network Nielsen stats through 34 completed weeks. Readers can see how the 2017-18 TV season race went here.

Adult 18-49 Rating
NBC…1.6
CBS…1.5
Fox…1.5
ABC…1.2
CW…0.4

Total Viewers
CBS…8.9 million
NBC…7.2 million
ABC…5.6 million
Fox…5.4 million
CW…1.3 million