NBC Wins First November Sweep in Nearly a Decade
UPDATED: Although there are a few hours left in Nielsen's big month, the network tops the rest of the Big Four and has the distinction of being the only one to grow from last year.
Although the news doesn't come as much of a surprise given its weekly dominance since the start of the 2012-13 TV season, NBC is ending the November ratings sweep ahead of CBS, Fox and ABC. This marks the first time the Peacock has earned that distinction since 2002.
Averaging a 2.8 rating among adults 18-to-49 through Sunday's primetime block, NBC was up 17 percent from the same period in 2011. The heavy lifting was done by Sunday Night Football and the fall edition of The Voice, but strong freshman showings from Revolution and Go On didn't hurt.
During a Tuesday call with reporters, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt admitted that January would bring a more "level playing field" for the networks once football and its flagship competition were off the schedule, weakening the network's advantage considerably.
"Starting out this strong heading into what we know is going to be a tougher winter feels like a big accomplishment," said Greenblatt. "I know we're going to drop accordingly without The Voice and Revolution, and obviously there are some big competitive things coming with American Idol and the Super Bowl. … In March, we'll be back in the game."
The November sweep, calculated by Nielsen and based on Live+Same Day viewership, doesn't officially conclude until the end of Wednesday's primetime block, but the rankings should see little, if any, adjustment.
CBS, coming in second with a 2.4 adults rating, was down 14 percent from 2011's November sweep. It was closely matched with Fox's 2.3 rating (down a whopping 26 percent from last year) and ABC's 2.2 (a loss of 12 percent).
In total viewers, CBS is still the top dog. The network averaged 10.28 million viewers in primetime, down 10 percent from November 2011. ABC (7.927 million) spilled 15 percent of its audience, though it managed to edge out NBC's 7.92 million. Again, NBC was the only network to post gains year-over-year, rising 15 percent. Fox was down 25 percent to 6.52 million viewers.