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CBS tops in total viewers, but NBC reigns in coveted age group


Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones intercepts a pass intended for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in a Sunday night NFL game Dec. 15 in Pittsburgh. NBC’s ‘‍Sunday Night Football’ was the highest rated show overall and among viewers 18 to 49.


With the 2013-14 TV season now one for the record books, it’s time to look back at Nielsen’s data and see where the TV universe stands.

Among broadcast networks, CBS was again No. 1 in total viewers with NBC second, ABC third, and Fox in fourth place. Univision was fifth, and The CW was sixth. But it’s a different story among the younger viewers advertisers covet.

Having the most total viewers is nice for bragging rights, but when it comes to money, the adult 18-49 demo brings in more money. In that race, NBC finished first for the first time in years (up 13 percent from 2012-13) with Fox second, CBS third, and ABC fourth, with Univision fifth and The CW sixth.

What day of the week is prime time the most watched? And least watched?

Most watched is pretty easy to guess: With all the competition, from sports and multiple prestige dramas, Sunday night is tops with 125 million average viewers, followed by Monday (120 million), Tuesday (114 million), and continuing the viewership decline day by day through Friday (107 million viewers).

Interestingly, though, Saturday is higher-rated than Friday, drawing 108 million viewers. This is why several networks, including AMC and Starz, have started putting original series on Saturday night; they see an opportunity the broadcast networks, who gave up programming Saturday night a decade ago, are missing.

As for the kind of shows viewers are watching, drama is the top genre, according to Nielsen, making up 37 percent of all prime-time programming. Sports was second at 31 percent.

Among time-shifted programming — shows recorded and watched later — drama made up 62 percent of time-shifted viewing. And more was spent on ads in dramas ($12 billion) than in other genres, including news ($9 billion) and sitcoms ($6 billion).

The Top 10 series for the 2013-14 TV season among total viewers were:

1. NFL Sunday Night Football (NBC).

2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS).

3. NCIS (CBS).

4. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS).

5. Dancing With the Stars (ABC).

6. The Blacklist (NBC).

7. The Voice (NBC).

8. Person of Interest (CBS).

9. The Voice Tuesday edition (NBC).

10. Blue Bloods (CBS).

And among the advertiser-coveted, 18-49 demo, the top shows were:

1. NFL Sunday Night Football (NBC).

2. The Big Bang Theory (CBS).

3. The Voice (NBC).

4. Modern Family (ABC).

5. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC).

6. How I Met Your Mother (CBS).

7. The Blacklist (NBC).

8. Scandal (ABC).

9. The Voice Tuesday edition (NBC).

10. Resurrection (ABC).

According to, the top-rated canceled shows in the age 18-49 demo were CBS’s The Crazy Ones, Fox’s Almost Human, ABC’s Super Fun Night, and Fox’s The X Factor, which was in a four-way tie with NBC’s Revolution, CBS’s Intelligence, and CBS’s We Are Men.

When it comes to social media, Nielsen also released a list of the TV moments that generated the biggest responses on Twitter.

Among series, AMC’s Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead were the top two shows. The Oscars on ABC was the top-tweeted special, followed by the Grammy Awards on CBS. Predictably, Superbowl XLVIII was the top-tweeted sporting event, followed by the NFC Championship game between San Francisco and Seattle.

Christmas in July

It’s beginning to feel a lot like … summer, but that won’t stop Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel from launching a Christmas movie programming event from 2 p.m. July 4 through July 13.


Comedy Central renewed Inside Amy Schumer for a third season and Review and TripTank for second seasons.

MTV ordered a second season of the comedy series Faking It.

ABC Family picked up Pretty Little Liars for a sixth and a seventh season to air in 2015 and 2016.

USA ordered a second season of its comedy series Sirens, Starz picked up a 10-episode second season of Power just four days after the show’s premiere and Nickelodeon bought a 20-episode, third season of Sanjay & Craig.

Channel surfing

AMC is developing a drama series based on the 2013 novel The Son, a multigeneration epic about the rise and fall of a Texas oil empire that’s being written by Brian McGreevy and writing partner Lee Shipman, who wrote on season one of Netflix’s Hemlock Grove but are not involved in season two (debuting July 11), according to a show publicist.

Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owens is a reporter for the Post-Gazette.

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