2018-'19 Season: Fewer TV Shows Hit The 10M Viewer Mark

Ratings for the four network broadcast prime-time TV shows continue to decline by low double-digit percentages on average for the 2018-2019 TV season. That has resulted in fewer top shows under key viewing levels.

Through 35 weeks, with the TV season wrapping up after May 22, just five broadcast network shows earned more than 10 million viewers on average this past TV season: “Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS,” “Young Sheldon” and “AGT: Champions” and “60 Minutes.”

This is according to Nielsen’s live program-plus same day-time-shifted viewing measure.

A year ago, through the same time period, there were nine series that had more than 10 million viewers: “Big Bang Theory,” ABC’s “Roseanne,” “NCIS,” “Young Sheldon,” “This Is Us,” “60 Minutes,” CBS’ “Bull” and two editions of NBC’s “The Voice.”

Only three broadcast TV networks shows averaged more than a 2.0 Nielsen rating among 18-49 viewers this season: Fox’s “The Masked Singer,” “Big Bang Theory” and NBC’s “This Is Us.” A year ago, there were six, including two — “Roseanne” (3.6) and “This Is Us (3.1) — that posted more than a 3.0 number.



This year, “Big Bang” is down 6% to average 13.2 million Nielsen viewers -- the top broadcast entertainment show. “NCIS” slipped 7% to 12.1 million. “Young Sheldon” fell 11% to 11.1 million.

NBC’s first-year “AGT: Champions” was at 10.13 million, while CBS’ “60 Minutes” sank 8.8%, to 10.11 million.

Right behind this group were two editions of NBC’s “The Voice” -- the fall Monday show dropping 8.8% to 9.2 million, and the fall Tuesday show also down 8.8% to 9.1 million. CBS’ new “FBI” earned a 9.1 million viewers this season.

TV network executives point to continued time-shifted viewing  -- especially from digital OTT platforms -- which has mitigated losses over the last several years.

Industry executives' rough estimates of low double-digit percentage viewing declines for network programming (live, DVR and video-on-demand) are more like 3% to 4% drops, when including all time-shifted digital platforms and OTT airings of broadcast TV shows.

Looking at the overall top programming in prime time, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was again the top series, averaging 19.3 million viewers -- up 7% from the year before.

Fox/NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” was in second place, earning 14.3 million viewers -- up slightly versus the year before, when CBS/NBC/NFL Network earned high numbers.

1 comment about "2018-'19 Season: Fewer TV Shows Hit The 10M Viewer Mark".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, May 22, 2019 at 3:51 p.m.

    Disruptive change is no fun at all but it's really real.

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