Fewer Prime-Time Entertainment, Non-Sports Shows Earn 10M Viewers, 'NCIS' Tops

Through three months of the 2020-2021 TV season, among top prime-time entertainment and non-sports shows, only eight series are earning more than 10 million viewers -- down from 13 a year ago.

CBS' “NCIS” is tops at 12.9 million viewers -- down 16% to 15.3 million a year ago, according to Nielsen's live program-plus-seven days of time-shifted viewing measure.

CBS' “60 Minutes” is next 11.9 million. It was the only top eight series to improve on last year’s numbers -- up 7% to 11.1 million in 2019 season-to-date.

NBC’s “This is Us” is at 11.2 million (down 6% from 11.9 million a year ago), and CBS’ “FBI”, 11.0 million (off 11%, 12.3 million) are next.

Three of NBC’s Chicago dramas are next: “Chicago Fire” at 10.7 million (down 5%, from 11.2 million in 2019 ). “Chicago Med” at 10.5 million (down 5%, from 11.0 million), and “Chicago PD” at 10.2 million (off 6%, from 10.8 million). CBS'“Blue Bloods" at 10.1 million viewers vs. 11.8 million year ago -- losing 14%.

In terms of overall viewing, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” is the best viewed prime-time TV series at 16.4 million viewers -- down from 17% versus a year ago.

Overall prime-time viewing continues to see steeper declines than a year ago in part due to pandemic TV production delays as well as higher competitive streaming and other issues.

So far this year, CBS is 22% lower (to 5.6 million viewers), while NBC is down 20% (to 5.0 million), ABC has lost 13% (4.5 million) and Fox is 10% less (4.2 million).

1 comment about "Fewer Prime-Time Entertainment, Non-Sports Shows Earn 10M Viewers, 'NCIS' Tops".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 29, 2020 at 4:11 p.m.

    Wayne, it should always be noted that Nielsen's "average commercial minute" audience projections do not tell you how many people watched a given telecast---especoially for primetime. For example, if a given series episode gets 7 million "average commercial minute viewers"----per Nielsen, and we believe that this is accurate, then we must also count probably 4-5 million more average minute viewers who zapped the commercials and weren't reported as well as many more who watched portions of the episode for at least 5 minutes---but not, necessarily an average minute. Add to that some folks who see the episode ditigally and you may get a total audience for the episode's content of 15 million---or roughly double the average commercial minute "audience".

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