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NBC steals 3rd place from ABC in 2011/2012 Primetime Season Rankings
Topic Started: May 24 2012, 05:08 PM (756 Views)
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Buh-Bye Tan of Our Lives

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – May 24, 2012 – NBC has concluded the 2011-2012 traditional September-to-May primetime television season with a 2.5 rating and a 9 percent gain in adult 18-49 rating versus last season’s 2.3, the biggest increase among ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. The 2.5 rating ranks #3 among major broadcast networks behind Fox and CBS and ahead of ABC.

Led by the success this season of “The Voice,” Super Bowl XLVI and “Sunday Night Football,” NBC has also finished the season #2 among ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox in adults 18-34 with a 2.0 rating, up 5 percent over last season’s 1.9.

“Not since the 2003-2004 season has NBC been out of fourth place in 18-49 viewers, so we’re thrilled to rank in third place for this season,” said Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt. “We’ve taken some key first steps towards rebuilding primetime, including a great second cycle for ‘The Voice’ and promising first seasons for shows like ‘Smash’ and ‘Grimm’. With a largely new staff in place and a strong development season under our belts – not to mention some big promotional opportunities presented by this summer’s London Olympics and two nights of ‘The Voice’ in the fall – we’re in a very good position to build on the progress of this past season. We’re genuinely excited about the future.”

During the 2009-2010 season, NBC tied ABC in 18-49 rating and trailed in 18-49 viewers and has otherwise finished #4 in both 18-49 rating and 18-49 viewers during each traditional May-to-September season since 2003-2004.

According to “most current” season averages from Nielsen Media Research, “Sunday Night Football” is the #1 primetime series of the season in adults 18-49, averaging an 8.0 rating (“live plus seven day” averages for the dates of the traditional primetime season), and total viewers, with 20.7 million. It’s the first time since the 2002-2003 season that any series besides Fox’s “American Idol” has claimed the #1 ranking in either categories, ending eight-year streaks atop those lists for “Idol.”

NBC’s “The Voice” is the season’s #2 entertainment series, finishing 0.1 of a point behind the Wednesday edition of “American Idol” (with a 6.1 rating vs. “Idol’s” 6.2). In adults 18-34, “The Voice” is the #1 entertainment series on ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox with a 5.3 rating.

While February’s Super Bowl played a key role in the network’s improved ranking this season, NBC is also the only network among ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox that’s shown year-to-year growth since the Super Bowl in adults 18-49 and adults 18-34. Since February 6, NBC is up 11 percent in adults 18-49 and up 7 percent in adults 18-34 versus year-ago results while ratings for ABC, CBS and Fox are flat or down year-to-year in both categories.

Also, in regular-program averages for the 2011-2012 season that exclude the Super Bowl, NBC is the only network among ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox to increase its 18-49 rating this season versus last. In those regular-program averages, NBC is tied with ABC for #3 in adults 18-49 (2.5 rating each) and is #2 ahead of CBS and ABC in adults 18-34 (with a 2.0 rating vs. a 1.9 for ABC and a 1.8 for CBS).

The median age of NBC’s audience is younger this season than last, 49.3 this season versus 49.6 for 2011-2012. Other median ages were: Fox, 46.3 versus last season’s 45.4; ABC, 52.4 versus last season’s 51.5; and CBS, 55.6 versus last season’s 55.1.

Among the highlights generated by NBC’s first-year shows of the past season, Monday’s “Smash” currently ranks tied for the highest adult 18-49 rating for any 10 p.m. ET drama on ABC, CBS or NBC (3.2 rating, tied with CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0” and “CSI,” “most current” season averages through May 23) and Friday’s “Grimm” is the #1 Friday drama on ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox in 18-49 (with a 2.1 rating).

2011-12 Season Averages

Adults 18-49







Regular Programs, Adults 18-49







Adults 18-34







Total Viewers


CBS…11.6 million…11.7 million…+1%

Fox…9.8 million…8.9 million…-9%

ABC…8.5 million…8.4 million…-2%

NBC…7.0 million…7.4 million…+5%

CW…2.0 million…1.7 million…-15%

Season-to-date figures are “most current” averages comprised of “live plus seven day” data through May 6 and “live plus same day” data for May 7 through May 23.
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This is all spin - strip out Football and NBC was nowhere near third. Only The Voice, The Office and Smash could crack a 2.0 A18-49 Live+same day on a regular basis all season. Most of ABC scripted could crack 2.0.

What it does show is that ABC and FOX are sinking quicker than NBC so that Football and The Voice leaps them out of 4th for the first time in a long time. I suspect next year is going to be particularly bad for FOX.
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Streetcorner Philosopher

I'm glad you called it spin, because I was surprised. I can barely think of shows on NBC, and they cancelled a lot of stuff (which you probably wouldn't do if it lifted you out of 4th place).

Fox is probably in serious trouble moving forward. A lot of their shows are old at this point.
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