TV Ratings Winners and Losers: Let’s Call It Early

The networks will finish in exactly this order…

Last Updated: April 26, 2016 @ 1:11 PM

Congrats, CBS: We can just pretty much just crown you now.

Barring a minor miracle for another network, the Les Moonves-led broadcaster will win the traditional September-May TV season this year. When it happens, it will end NBC’s two years atop the key 18-49 demographic. Part of the reason? CBS aired the Super Bowl.

Looking at the full year — when all 52 weeks are counted this September — CBS will probably win in total viewers.

Still, there’s good news here for NBC. The network announced in 2014 that it only cares about the full 12-month year, and with the Summer Olympics, NBC should easily win the full year in the key 18-49 demo. NBC can also make the case that without the SuperBowl, it would have edged out CBS.

Here are the current demo ratings, standings and percent-changes versus this time last year. All numbers below come from Nielsen’s “most current” ratings, which include a week’s worth of delayed TV viewing where available.

TV Ratings (18-49)
1. CBS: 2.3 (-4.2%)
2. NBC: 2.2 (-12%)
3. Fox: 2.0 (Flat)
4. ABC: 1.8 (-18.2%)
5. CW: 0.8 (Flat)

ABC’s having a rough season, clearly, but Fox can thank pro football (and yes, “Empire”) for delivering next month’s official bronze medal.

Here are total viewers as of now. As you can see, the only position change comes from ABC leapfrogging Fox.

Total Viewers (2+)
1. CBS: 11.11 million (-2.3%)
2. NBC: 8.29 million (-6.1%)
3. ABC: 6.79 million (-14.1%)
4. Fox:  5.99 million (+1%)
5. CW: 1.95 million (-7.1%)

It’s worth reminding readers that NBC’s percentage losses can be chalked up to comparing a Super Bowl year to a non-Super Bowl year. Unfortunately, we can’t make such an excuse for the Disney-owned ABC.

The traditional September-May season officially ends on May 25, exactly one month from last night’s primetime telecasts.