Meet TV’s Comedy and Drama Champ: Here’s the Ratings Ruler Without Reality, Sports and Specials

TheWrap uncovers how broadcast networks stack up on scripted programming only

Last Updated: January 28, 2015 @ 8:25 AM

Who needs football? Well, NBC for starters — and also Fox and CBS, albeit to somewhat lesser degrees.

TheWrap re-ran network TV ratings to include primetime scripted series only — so, omitting sports, specials and reality series — to see who owns the written word on the small screen. As it turns out, the pared-down way of looking at most current (where available) Nielsen numbers jumps ABC from third to first place among the Big 4 networks.

Both originals and repeats were included in this report, which accounted for data from the 2014-2015 season shows through Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015.

The results of our study shows ABC leading runner-up CBS by 13 percent, with an average rating/share of 2.7/8 against the lower 2.4/7 in the advertiser-sought 18-49 demographic.

Sans football, “The Voice” and “Peter Pan Live” — among other unqualified-in-this-scenario broadcasts — NBC settled for third with a 2.1/6.

Fox finished in fourth place with a 1.9/6.

Ordinarily, not withholding any kind of programming, the nets lineup in the following order for the season: NBC (2.6/8), CBS (2.5/8), ABC (2.1/7) and Fox (2.1/6).

So, clearly, ABC sees the best jump when looking solely at scripted programming. Meanwhile, NBC drops the most — a full half of a ratings point, falling to third place.

CBS slips just one-tenth of a Nielsen point, staying in second place. Fox dips two-tenths of a point, going from a third-place tie to sole possession of fourth.

Another way of touting the ABC strength is to point out that its six scripted series in the Top 15 are the most for any net — and it has a little room to spare after hitting that total. (Technically, it’s sixth, “Black-ish,” clocks in at a two-way tie for 13th with CBS’s “Scorpion.”)

“Modern Family” is No. 2 (behind “The Big Bang Theory”), “Scandal” is third (the top-rated drama), “Grey’s Anatomy” comes in sixth, “Once Upon a Time” is at No. 9. Plus, newcomer “How to Get Away With Murder” clocks in at No. 11, and “Black-ish” at the aforementioned No. 13.

Unfortunately for ABC, this is not how ratings are traditionally measured, but it’d be nice for them if it was.

Here are the Top 25 scripted series from the period we measured — a tie at the bottom added an extra line item to the mix, however, due to two mentions of CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” there are still 25 individual series below.

(Note: The second mention of “The Big Bang Theory” — tied for fourth with NBC’s “The Blacklist” — is from an 8:30 p.m. rerun timeslot across a series of Monday nights to open the season. The top slot overall is “BBT’s” combined efforts Mondays and Thursdays in its regular first-run 8 p.m. timeslot.)

Program Net Demo Rating Demo Share Rank
BIG BANG THEORY, THE CBS 5.7 19 1
MODERN FAMILY ABC 5.0 15 2
SCANDAL ABC 4.8 14 3
BLACKLIST NBC 4.6 14 4
BIG BANG THEORY, THE – 2 CBS 4.6 13 4
GREY’S ANATOMY ABC 4.0 13 6
EMPIRE FOX 3.9 11 7
FAMILY GUY FOX 3.8 10 8
CRIMINAL MINDS CBS 3.7 11 9
ONCE UPON A TIME ABC 3.7 10 9
HOW TO GET AWAY W/MURDER ABC 3.6 11 11
SIMPSONS FOX 3.4 9 12
SCORPION CBS 3.3 9 13
BLACK-ISH ABC 3.3 10 13
GOTHAM FOX 3.2 10 15
NCIS CBS 3.1 10 16
MARVEL AGENTS S.H.I.E.L.D ABC 3.0 9 17
NCIS: NEW ORLEANS CBS 2.9 8 18
MOM CBS 2.9 9 18
UNDER THE DOME CBS 2.9 8 18
GOLDBERGS, THE ABC 2.8 9 21
BROOKLYN NINE-NINE FOX 2.8 7 21
TWO AND A HALF MEN CBS 2.7 8 23
CHICAGO FIRE NBC 2.7 9 23
LAW AND ORDER:SVU NBC 2.6 8 25
2 BROKE GIRLS CBS 2.6 8 25

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