With just a week to go to the end of the 2019-2020 TV season, broadcast network TV viewership is posting a 5% decline in prime time among the top broadcast networks.
For CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, total average prime-time viewing is down to a collective average of 26.4 million viewers -- for the period from Sept. 24 - May 10, vs. 27.6 million a year ago, per Nielsen’s live program-plus seven days (L7) of time-shifted viewing analysis.
This comes at the same time as a slight viewing bump in the past two months due to the effect of stay-at-home orders.
Fox is the only network to have seen gains in prime time -- besting all TV networks in the traditional key 18-49 viewing group, averaging a Nielsen-measured (L7) 1.7 rating/9 share, up 13% from a year ago.
Fox aired the Super Bowl this season -- always a major factor for a network airing the game -- and witnessed improving results from NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” and reality singing competition show “The Masked Singer.”
NBC was next at 1.4/7, down 13%, while CBS and ABC each came in at 1.1/6 --- down 27% and 15%, respectively.
CBS' results were up against its airing of the Super Bowl a year ago -- as well as the airing of its AFC Championship in prime time, as well as the loss of its highly rated NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, cancelled this past March.
Even with the major loss, CBS still posted the best average total viewers in prime time this year -- at 7.75 million (down 15%) -- followed by NBC with 6.67 million (losing 9%); Fox, 6.4 million (up 17%); and ABC, 5.5 million (down 3%).