TV Ratings: CBS Wins Season in Viewers, NBC Tops Demo

The 2021-2022 broadcast TV season is coming to a close, and CBS is ready to declare an early total viewers victory. The broadcast network said Tuesday it is poised to win its 14th consecutive season in terms of overall audience size.

There’s still nearly a month to go, including season finales for many of broadcast TV’s top series, on the Nielsen calendar. But according to the Eye network, CBS is currently averaging 6.35 million viewers, a hair above NBC’s 6.25 million viewers, in primetime.

The 2021-2022 season marks the second time during CBS’ 14-season viewership streak that it has also managed to best NBC in total viewers while that broadcaster was airing both the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

“The strength and depth of our core CBS series, the top new comedies and dramas on television, our iconic alternative programming, world-class sports franchises, plus the finest news program in the history of television, provided us with the power to surge to the top of the broadcast landscape for the 14th consecutive season. That’s a huge testament to our talent, producers and the CBS team,” CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said in a statement. “Additionally, these incredibly popular series have been a key driver in the growth and success of our streaming service, Paramount+.”

Though CBS is once again going to be the viewership champ, Variety has learned that NBC is topping CBS — and the rest of its broadcast competition — among adults 18-49, boasting a 1.2 rating vs. Fox’s 1.1, CBS’ 0.8 and ABC’s 0.7. The 2021-2022 season marks the third year in a row that ABC has ranked or tied as the No. 1 network when excluding sports programming, a win the broadcast network regularly touts.

See the full rankings for the 2021-2022 broadcast TV season broken down by total viewers and 18-49 demo ratings below. These stats are per Nielsen’s “most current” data stream, which counts tune-in and delayed viewing through Sunday, May 1.

Total Viewers:

CBS — 6.35 million

NBC — 6.25 million

Fox — 4.68 million

ABC — 4.19 million

18-49 Ratings:

NBC — 1.2

Fox — 1.1

CBS — 0.8

ABC — 0.7

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