NBC and CBS will take the top spot in key TV broadcast networks' viewing metrics -- 18-49 viewing and total viewing, respectively -- for the 2017-2018 broadcast TV season.
All broadcast networks -- except for NBC --- witnessed declines, with traditional TV viewers shifting to other media platforms.
NBC's gains were largely due to its airing of the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics -- up 5% to a 2.2 Nielsen live program-plus same day-time-shifted rating among 18-49 viewers in prime time through 34 weeks of the season. NBC took the top spot among 18-49 viewers for the fourth time in the last five years.
In a three-way tie for second place at a 1.5 rating were CBS, ABC, and Fox -- down 17%, 6%, and 21%, respectively. The CW was next at 0.6, down 14%.
CBS grabbed the top spot among total viewers at 8.98 million -- its 10th year in a row -- yet was down 7%. NBC was at 8.87 million (up 9%); ABC, 6.07 million (slipping 2%); Fox, 4.92 million (losing 16%); and The CW, 1.72 million (down 5%).
In looking just at entertainment programming -- which excludes live news and sports -- NBC was at a 1.6 rating among 18-49 viewers (down 6%); ABC, 1.5 (down 6%); CBS, 1.4 (losing 12%); Fox, 1.2 (falling 8%); and The CW, a 0.6 (slipping 14%).
Total average viewership for broadcast network entertainment programming losses were not as significant as in 18-49 viewership, with CBS losing 5% to 8.77 million; NBC down 1% to 7.11 million; ABC dropping 3% to 6.24 million; and Fox, off 3% to 3.92 million.
The traditional prime-time broadcast season runs from late September through late May.
NBC says it is “well-positioned” to be in the lead spot for the fifth year in a row in adults 18-49. Total viewers for the year could also give NBC the number one position for the first time since 2001-2002 season.