With a schedule energized by the biggest hit of the new season, This Is Us; the No. 1 series on broadcast television, Sunday Night Football; television’s No. 1 alternative series, The Voice; and a lineup of breakthrough special programs, NBC is delivering a season of historic ratings dominance.
Through 17 weeks of the 2016-17 television season, NBC is leading No. 2 Fox in primetime’s key demographic of adults 18-49 by a +35 percent margin, with a 2.7 rating versus Fox’s 2.0 in "most current" ratings from Nielsen Media Research. It’s the biggest lead 17 weeks into a season for any net in the history of Nielsen’s current people meter sample, which dates back to 1987.
NBC has won the last 10 weeks in a row in 18-49, equaling its longest in-season winning streak in 20 years, since a 13-week streak covering the weeks of Jan. 27 to April 21, 1997.
NBC also leads the season in all other key demographics — adults 18-34 and 25-54; men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54; and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 — and ranks #1 even when sports are excluded in such vital demos as adults 18-49, adults 18-34 and adults 25-54.
In total viewers, NBC is running within 192,000 persons of perennial total-viewer leader CBS (9.7 million vs. 9.9 million), the narrowest gap through 17 weeks between NBC and CBS in 17 years since NBC trailed by 9000 viewers during the 1999-2000 season. From late November through early January, NBC won seven weeks in a row in total viewers, its longest in-season winning streak by that measure in 21 years (since an eight-week streak in January-February, 1996).
The average of 9.7 million viewers makes this NBC’s most-watched season in 10 years, since averaging 9.9 million viewers through 17 weeks during the 2006-07 season.
This Is Us has scored as the hit of the season, averaging a 4.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 14.6 million viewers in "live plus seven day" Nielsens for its original episodes, making it television’s No. 4 entertainment series in 18-49 and No. 5 entertainment series in total viewers. Us returned to the schedule this last week after a five-week break and set 18-49 series records in "live plus same day" (3.0) and "live plus three days" (4.6), delivering NBC’s top L+3 rating in the timeslot with scripted programming since April 2008.
NBC Sunday Night Football is poised to finish the season as primetime’s No. 1 broadcast series in adults 18-49 for a sixth consecutive season, with an average of a 7.0 rating in adults 18-49. NBC was also boosted this season by the addition of five Thursday Night Football games, which are currently tied as broadcast’s No. 2 primetime series season to date, with a 5.2 average in 18-49.
The Voice continues to rule as television’s No. 1 alternative series in adults 18-49, with the 3.1 average rating for its fall cycle a +7 percent gain over the prior cycle’s 2.9. NBC also recently added another strong new alternative element to the schedule with Tuesday’s The Wall, the second-biggest in-season alternative hit on the Big 4 in five years, behind only Little Big Shots. The last time any other first-year in-season alternative series averaged more viewers than The Wall’s 6.2 million average to date was during the 2011-12 season with Fox’s The X Factor.
NBC also continues to dominate in late night, where Saturday Night Live originals are up year to year by +27 percent to 10.8 million viewers in "live plus seven day" ratings, making this its most-watched season in 24 years. On weeknights, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers are beating their ABC and CBS time-period competition in every key ratings measure. Tonight Show generated its second biggest fourth-quarter victory in the time period in 18 years, with a +59 percent margin over No. 2 Colbert in adult 18-49 rating (with a 0.92 vs. a 0.58).
NBC News also delivers No. 1 results in morning news, evening news, Sunday morning public affairs and primetime. NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt won 2016 across the board, with an average of 8.5 million viewers overall, marking Nightly’s ninth consecutive year as most-watched evening newscast. Today has won the morning news race in the target news demographic of adults 25-54 for the last five quarters in a row. Meet the Press with Chuck Todd moved ahead in the 2016 Sunday morning public affairs race in the key 25-54 demographic, ranking No. 1 for the year for the first time since 2012. And in primetime, Dateline NBC rates as the No. 1 Friday newsmagazine so far this season in adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and total viewers.