Summer Sees TV Viewing Declines, Unscripted Series Shift To Fall Prime Time

Linear TV viewing declines continue, with the top 20 summer TV shows down 15% to 3.6 million average viewers using Nielsen's live airing-plus-7 days of time-shifted viewing metric for the period from May 25-July 16.

The heavy non-scripted summer TV period has also been affected by some broadcast TV networks delaying the start of top summer performers and moving fresh TV content into the fall prime-time schedule. 

Due to the current writers' and actors' strike, virtually all scripted TV broadcast prime-time series currently have been shut down.

CBS will be starting the 25th edition of its highly rated “Big Brother” summer TV series -- a top summer performer -- in early August, where episodes will bridge into the fall season. In previous years, the big show summer reality series started the first week in July.

The series will run on Sundays and Wednesdays with fresh episodes. In past summer periods, it could run three times a week. 

Last year, “Brother” aired on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Total estimated episodes typically amount to 35-40 per season. In 2022, over a similar time span, the show averaged 4.6 million viewers.

NBC’s “America's Got Talent” remains the top summer TV show -- well ahead of the competition -- averaging 7.58 million, down just 2% over the same period a year ago.

Only two other primetime TV series amassed more than 4 million average viewers so far -- NBC's scripted TV series “Blacklist” (4.06 million) and NBC's “Nascar Cup Series Race (4.04 million).

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