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December 18, 2018

NBC Also Leads the Quarter Counting Entertainment Programs Only & Scripted Programs Only & Is Tied for #1 in Alternative Programs Only

Primetime’s Top Lineup Is Paced by the #1 Show, “Sunday Night Football”; the #1 Entertainment Series, “This Is Us”; and the #1-2 New Series, “Manifest” & “New Amsterdam”

In Total Viewers, NBC Nearly Matches CBS For Its Closest Finish to #1 in a Fourth Quarter in 19 Years

For Calendar Year 2018, NBC Wins in Total Viewers for the First Time in 16 Years

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Dec. 18, 2018 — NBC has clinched a #1 finish for the fourth quarter of 2018 in the key primetime demographic of adults 18-49, marking the seventh consecutive year NBC has opened the new fall season with a fourth-quarter win.

In addition to its victory in adults 18-49, NBC leads the Big 4 competition for the quarter to date in adults 25-54, adults 18-34 (tie) and all key adult-female demographics.

In total viewers, NBC currently runs #2 and has narrowed CBS’s lead to just 64,000 persons (8.875 million vs. 8.939 million through 12 weeks), which is the closest NBC has run to #1 in total viewers at this point in the quarter in 19 years, since NBC led at this time in 1999.

NBC also ranks #1 for the season in adults 18-49 counting entertainment programs only and scripted programs only and is tied for #1 counting alternative programs only in 18-49 and is #1 outright in that category in total viewers.

NBC’s winning lineup this fall has been paced by the #1 primetime series in 18-49 and total viewers, “Sunday Night Football”; the #1 entertainment series and #1 drama in 18-49, “This Is Us”; the #1 new series in 18-49 and total viewers, “Manifest”; the #2 new series in 18-49, “New Amsterdam”; and the #1 most-watched alternative series, “The Voice.”

NBC has also taken over the Wednesday lead with its lineup of “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.,” which have scored as the night’s #1 regular lineup in total viewers every night they’ve aired so far this season. In 18-49, NBC is up +5% Wednesday nights this season versus last in regular-program averages (with a 2.0 rating vs. a 1.9), to move from a tie for #3 on the night at this point last season to #1 this season.

Season-to-Date Averages Thru 12 Weeks

Adult 18-49 Rating, “Most Current”






Total Viewers

CBS…8.9 million

NBC…8.9 million

Fox…7.1 million

ABC…5.7 million

CW…1.5 million

NBC series have generated the quarter’s biggest time-shifting boosts on television, with “This Is Us” claiming the #1 biggest increase in adults 18-49 going from “live plus same day” Nielsens to “live plus seven day” (+1.84 of a rating point, which increases the show’s L+SD rating by +83%). Ranking #2 on that list is “Manifest” (+1.70, building by +118% on its L+SD rating).

In total viewers, “Manifest” is the biggest L+7 gainer on television, growing by +6.7 million persons, and “This Is Us” (+5.5 million) and “New Amsterdam” (+5.3 million) rank #3 and #4 on that list.

NBC’s digital viewership is also on the rise, with increases in non-linear rating versus one year ago of +38% for “The Good Place,” +33% for “Superstore” and +20% for “Law & Order: SVU.” “Good Place and “Superstore” now draw more than a third of their “live plus seven day plus digital” ratings from non-linear sources.

For calendar year 2018, NBC has clinched a #1 finish in adult 18-49 rating for a fifth year in a row and sixth time in seven years, with NBC’s current +38% lead for the year to date (1.8 vs. 1.3) the biggest for any network in the history of people meters at this point in the year.

Even excluding sports, NBC is winning the calendar year comfortably, marking the fourth year in a row NBC has finished #1 or tied for #1 (#1 outright in 2016-18, tied with ABC in 2015).

NBC is also poised to win the calendar year in total viewers, and is leading at this point in the year for the first time in 16 years, since 2002. This breaks a nine-year winning streak for CBS, which had won each year since Fox finished first in 2008. Even excluding sports, NBC is the closest it’s been to #1 for a calendar year in total viewers in 16 years (currently within 825,000 viewers when sports are excluded, the closest its run since holding a narrow lead excluding sports at this point in 2002).


Media contact:

Tom Bierbaum, 814-452-2091

[email protected]