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Press Release
December 21, 2017

The Network’s +33% Margin Is the Biggest for Any Net 12 Weeks into the Season in the 30-Year History of Nielsen’s People-Meter Sample

NBC Also Leads the Season Counting Entertainment Programs Only, Scripted Programs Only & Alternative Programs Only

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Dec. 21, 2017 — NBC has clinched a #1 finish for the fourth quarter of 2017 in the key primetime demographic of adults 18-49, marking the sixth consecutive year NBC has opened the new fall season with a fourth-quarter win.

Through the season’s opening 12 weeks, the network leads by a +33% margin, averaging a 2.4 rating versus a 1.8 for #2 Fox. It’s the biggest advantage for any network at this point in the season in the 30-year history of Nielsen’s current people-meter sample.

NBC has dominated the quarter, leading the Big 4 competition in every key ratings demographic – adults, men and women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. Excluding Fox’s World Series weeks, NBC has outrated every Big 4 network in adults 18-49 every week so far this season.

In total viewers, NBC currently runs #2 and has narrowed CBS’s lead to 614,000 persons (9.8 million vs. 9.2 million through 12 weeks). That virtually matches the deficit at this time last year (620,000), marking the two smallest NBC deficits behind CBS at this point in the season in the last 15 years (since 2002-03, 426,000 viewers).

NBC also leads the season in adults 18-49 counting entertainment programs only, scripted programs only and alternative programs only.

NBC’s dominant primetime lineup this fall has been paced by the #1 primetime series in 18-49 and total viewers, “Sunday Night Football”; broadcast television’s #2 series and #1 scripted series in 18-49, “This Is Us”; the #1 and #2 alternative series in both 18-49 and total viewers, the Monday and Tuesday editions of “The Voice”; and television’s #2 comedy in 18-49, “Will & Grace.”

Season-to-Date Averages Thru 12 Weeks

Adult 18-49 Rating, “Most Current”






Total Viewers

CBS…9.8 million

NBC…9.2 million

ABC…6.3 million

Fox…6.0 million

CW…1.9 million

NBC’s schedule has also been boosted this fall by a potent lineup of specials, including “DreamWorks Trolls Holiday,” which has scored as NBC’s highest-rated entertainment program among kids 2-11 in 18 years (with a 7.32 rating in “live plus seven day” Nielsens); “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” which nabbed a three-year time-period high, excluding Olympics, in total viewers (5.8 million, “live plus same day”); and “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” the most-watched holiday special of the season to date (9.0 million, L+SD).

Recent highlights have included the Dec. 18 preview of “Ellen’s Game of Games,” which scored as NBC’s top non-sports program in the Monday 10 p.m. hour in 13 months (1.7 L+SD), and a Dec. 11 preview of “Better Late Than Never,” which swept its timeslot, winning all key demographics versus the hour’s ABC and CBS competition.


Media contact:

Tom Bierbaum, 814-452-2091