2018-19 TV Season Ratings: 90 Percent of Veteran Broadcast Shows Fall

Same-day numbers may not tell the whole story, but nearly every show's starting point retreated from the previous season.
Chris Haston/NBC; Phil Caruso/CBS; Jack Rowand/ABC
NBC's 'Will & Grace' (left), CBS' 'Bull,' ABC's 'The Good Doctor'

It's a widely accepted piece of TV ratings dogma that same-day numbers represent a starting point, not the complete picture for a given show.

What's also true, however, is that in 2018-19, the starting point for nearly every returning broadcast series retreated from the previous season. 

In fact, only 10 percent (10 of 102) of veteran series increased or held steady with their same-day adults 18-49 rating from the 2017-18 season. The Hollywood Reporter's comparison includes same-day ratings for all original episodes of series that aired more than one episode in the 2018-19 season, including those coded as specials.

Only episodes that aired within the boundaries of the Nielsen-measured season (Sept. 24, 2018-May 22, 2019) are counted, which leaves out a handful of early-September football games and the odd early premiere.

That leaves 92 shows— just over 90 percent — that declined year to year in the key ad demographic. The declines range from minuscule (four hundredths of a point for top-rated Sunday Night Football) to huge (a 0.75-point drop for Will & Grace, which was off by half vs. its first revival season). A heavy majority of those declined by more than 10 percent. 

A few more veteran shows, 18 in all, were able to increase their total audiences over 2017-18. Chicago Fire posted the biggest gains, growing by 2.12 million viewers while surrounded by its franchise mates on NBC. CBS' Bull (-3.91 million viewers) suffered the largest fall after moving to Mondays from the safe harbor of Tuesdays following NCIS (yet still improved its time period year to year). ABC's The Good Doctor also bled more than 3 million viewers.

Fox's The Masked Singer was the top-rated new show in adults 18-49 with a 2.59 rating. NBC's America's Got Talent: The Champions led newcomers in total viewers with 10.12 million, ahead of the 9.07 million for CBS' FBI.

The season-long charts are below. Complete live-plus-7 ratings for the season will be available in June. 

Key: *Average includes post-Super Bowl episode. **Vs. summer 2018 average. ***Aired on Fox in 2017-18. ^Vs. 2016-17 average. ^^Moved to Friday from higher-traffic night.

Adults 18-49

Rank Show Network 18-49 rating Plus/minus vs. 2017-18
1 Sunday Night Football NBC 5.79 -0.04 (-0.7%)
2 Thursday Night Football Fox 4.33 +0.09 (+2.1%)
3 The OT Fox 3.3 -0.4 (-10.8%)
4 Football Night in America Pt 3 NBC 2.7 -0.4 (-12.9%)
5 The Masked Singer Fox 2.59 n/a
6 The Big Bang Theory CBS 2.24 -0.51 (-18.5%)
7 This Is Us NBC 2.01 -1.06 (-34.5%)*
8 The Bachelor ABC 1.88 +0.16 (+9.3%)
9 Young Sheldon CBS 1.71 -0.5 (-22.6%)
10 America's Got Talent: The Champions NBC 1.7 n/a
11 The Voice - Monday NBC 1.61 -0.42 (-20.7%)
12 The World's Best CBS 1.59* n/a
13 The Conners ABC 1.55 n/a
  Grey's Anatomy ABC 1.55 -0.36 (-18.8%)
15 Survivor CBS 1.49 -0.17 (-10.2%)
16 The Voice - Tuesday NBC 1.46 -0.43 (-22.8%)
17 Ellen's Game of Games NBC 1.43 -0.58 (-28.9%)
18 Saturday Night Football ABC 1.39 -0.03 (-2.1%)
19 Empire Fox 1.34 -0.5 (-27.2%)
20 American Idol - Sunday ABC 1.32 -0.35 (-21%)
21 Football Night in America Pt 2 NBC 1.3 -0.4 (-23.5%)
22 911 Fox 1.29 -0.35 (-21.3%)
23 Modern Family ABC 1.25 -0.34 (-21.4)
  The Bachelorette ABC 1.25 -0.2 (-13.8%)**
  Manifest NBC 1.25 n/a
26 The Titan Games NBC 1.23 n/a
  60 Minutes CBS 1.23 -0.17 (-12.1%)
  NCIS CBS 1.23 -0.17 (-12.1%)
29 American Idol - Monday ABC 1.22 -0.34 (-21.8%)
  Chicago Fire NBC 1.22 +0.15 (+14%)
31 Mom CBS 1.2 -0.26 (-17.8%)
  Chicago Med NBC 1.2 -0.03 (-2.4%)
33 The Simpsons Fox 1.19 -0.23 (-16.2%)
34 The Goldbergs ABC 1.18 -0.28 (-19.2%)
35 The Good Doctor ABC 1.11 -0.68 (-38%)
  The Neighborhood CBS 1.11 n/a
37 Last Man Standing Fox 1.1 -0.05 (-4.4%)^
  Chicago PD NBC 1.1 -0.11 (-9.1%)
39 New Amsterdam NBC 1.07 n/a
40 NBA Saturday Primetime ABC 1.06 even
  Star Fox 1.06 -0.26 (-19.7%)
42 Celebrity Big Brother CBS 1.05 -0.2 (-16%)
43 24 Hours to Hell and Back Fox 1.04 +0.05 (+5.1%)
  Bob's Burgers Fox 1.04 +0.05 (+5.1%)
45 Family Guy Fox 1.02 -0.11 (-9.7%)
46 The Amazing Race CBS 0.98 -0.26 (-21%)
47 FBI CBS 0.97 n/a
48 Schooled ABC 0.96 n/a
  Station 19 ABC 0.96 -0.06 (-5.9%)
50 The Resident Fox 0.94 -0.07 (-6.9%)
51 Dancing With the Stars ABC 0.93 -0.33 (-26.2%)
52 American Housewife ABC 0.91 -0.31 (-25.4%)
  A Million Little Things ABC 0.91 n/a
  The Passage Fox 0.91 n/a
55 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 0.9 -0.12 (-11.8%)
  Magnum P.I. CBS 0.9 n/a
57 God Friended Me CBS 0.89 n/a
58 Fam CBS 0.88 n/a
59 Man With a Plan CBS 0.86 -0.14 (-14%)
60 Happy Together CBS 0.85 n/a
  Murphy Brown CBS 0.85 n/a
62 Single Parents ABC 0.84 n/a
  World of Dance NBC 0.84 -0.4 (-32.3%)**
  Life in Pieces CBS 0.84 -0.17 (-16.8%)
65 The Great Christmas Light Fight ABC 0.83 -0.1 (-10.8%)
  The Cool Kids Fox 0.83 n/a
  The Good Place NBC 0.83 -0.28 (-25.2%)
  Law & Order: SVU NBC 0.83 -0.42 (-33.6%)
69 The Kids Are Alright ABC 0.82 n/a
  NCIS: Los Angeles CBS 0.82 -0.09 (-9.9%)
  Superstore NBC 0.82 -0.19 (-18.8%)
72 Shark Tank ABC 0.81 -0.18 (-18.2%)
73 Black-ish ABC 0.79 -0.41 (-34.2%)
  NCIS: New Orleans CBS 0.79 -0.16 (-16.8%)
  Blue Bloods CBS 0.79 -0.11 (-12.2%)
76 SWAT CBS 0.78 -0.16 (-17%)
  Hawaii Five-0 CBS 0.78 -0.17 (-17.9%)
78 Hell's Kitchen Fox 0.77 -0.09 (-10.5%)
  SEAL Team CBS 0.76 -0.25 (-24.8%)
80 Criminal Minds CBS 0.76 -0.23 (-23.2%)
81 Bull CBS 0.75 -0.43 (-36.4%)
82 Masterchef Junior Fox 0.74 -0.07 (-8.6%)
  The Orville Fox 0.74 -0.25 (-25.3%)
  The Enemy Within NBC 0.74 n/a
  Will & Grace NBC 0.74 -0.75 (-50.3%)
86 The Rookie ABC 0.71 n/a
  Lethal Weapon Fox 0.71 -0.28 (-28.3%)
88 MacGyver CBS 0.7 -0.13 (-15.7%)
89 How to Get Away With Murder ABC 0.69 -0.26 (-27.4%)
  Brooklyn Nine-Nine NBC 0.69 -0.04 (-5.5%)***
91 Dancing With the Stars: Juniors ABC 0.68 n/a
92 Splitting Up Together ABC 0.67 -0.56 (-45.5%)
  Bless This Mess ABC 0.67 n/a
  The Great American Baking Show ABC 0.67 n/a
95 The Village NBC 0.66 n/a
96 Rel Fox 0.65 n/a
97 Gotham Fox 0.63 -0.14 (-18.2%)
98 Fresh Off the Boat ABC 0.62 -0.41 (-39.8%)^^
  The Flash CW 0.62 -0.17 (-21.5%)
100 The Gifted Fox 0.61 -0.4 (-39.6%)
101 20/20 ABC 0.6 even
  Dateline - Sunday NBC 0.6 even
103 The Code CBS 0.59 n/a
104 The Blacklist NBC 0.58 -0.34 (-37%)^^
105 Madam Secretary CBS 0.57 -0.06 (-9.5%)
  Whiskey Cavalier ABC 0.57 n/a
107 Dateline - Friday NBC 0.56 -0.24 (-30%)
  Good Girls NBC 0.56 -0.47 (-45.6%)
109 Million Dollar Mile CBS 0.55 n/a
110 Fox College Football Fox 0.54 -0.09 (-14.3%)
111 Mental Samurai Fox 0.53 n/a
112 Match Game ABC 0.52 -0.17 (-24.6%)
113 48 Hours CBS 0.5 even
114 The Fix ABC 0.49 n/a
  For the People ABC 0.49 -0.14 (-22.2%)
  Speechless ABC 0.49 -0.64 (-56.6%)^^
  Dateline Saturday Mystery NBC 0.49 -0.01 (-2%)
  AP Bio NBC 0.49 -0.24 (-32.9%)
  I Feel Bad NBC 0.49 n/a
120 Blindspot NBC 0.47 -0.15 (-24.2%)
121 Child Support ABC 0.42 -0.28 (-40%)
122 Abby's NBC 0.41 n/a
123 Agents of SHIELD ABC 0.4 -0.13 (-24.5%)
  Proven Innocent Fox 0.4 n/a
  Supernatural CW 0.4 -0.16 (-28.6%)
126 Midnight, Texas NBC 0.39 -0.35 (-47.3%)^
  Paradise Hotel Fox 0.39 n/a
128 1969 ABC 0.36 n/a
129 The Red Line CBS 0.35 n/a
  Riverdale CW 0.35 -0.14 (-28.6%)
  Supergirl CW 0.35 -0.18 (-34%)
132 Arrow CW 0.34 -0.09 (-20.9%)
133 Legacies CW 0.31 n/a
134 Black Lightning CW 0.3 -0.26 (-46.4%)
135 Legends of Tomorrow CW 0.29 -0.19 (-39.6%)
136 Roswell, New Mexico CW 0.28 n/a
  The 100 CW 0.28 -0.08 (-22.2%)
138 Ransom CBS 0.27 +0.01 (+3.8%)
139 Charmed CW 0.26 n/a
140 The Alec Baldwin Show ABC 0.24 n/a
141 All American CW 0.23 n/a
  Jane the Virgin CW 0.23 -0.01 (-4.2%)
143 iZombie CW 0.2 -0.04 (-16.7%)
144 In the Dark CW 0.17 n/a
145 Dynasty CW 0.15 -0.04 (-21.1%)
146 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend CW 0.12 -0.08 (-40%)


Total Viewers 

Rank Show Network Viewers (millions) Plus/minus vs. 2017-18 (millions)
1 Sunday Night Football NBC 18.7 +1.16 (+6.6%)
2 Thursday Night Football Fox 14.15 +0.37 (+2.7%)
3 The Big Bang Theory CBS 13.0 -1.04 (-7.4%)
4 NCIS CBS 12.11 -0.94 (-7.2%)
5 Young Sheldon CBS 11.14 -1.38 (-11%)
6 The OT Fox 10.6 -1.02 (-8.8%)
7 60 Minutes CBS 10.18 -0.72 (-6.6%)
8 America's Got Talent: The Champions NBC 10.12 n/a
9 Football Night in America Pt 3 NBC 9.15 -0.42 (-4.4%)
10 FBI CBS 9.07 n/a
11 The Voice - Monday NBC 8.96 -1.08 (-10.8%)
12 The Voice - Tuesday NBC 8.45 -1.3 (-13.3%)
13 Blue Bloods CBS 8.43 -0.65 (-7.2%)
14 This Is Us NBC 8.33 -2.81 (25.2%)*
15 Chicago Med NBC 8.24 +1.63 (+24.6%)
16 The Masked Singer Fox 8.17 n/a
17 Chicago Fire NBC 8.1 +2.12 (+35.5%)
18 Mom CBS 7.99 -0.77 (-8.8%)
19 God Friended Me CBS 7.78 n/a
20 American Idol - Sunday ABC 7.56 -0.47 (-5.9%)
21 The Conners ABC 7.46 n/a
22 Survivor CBS 7.45 -0.76 (-9.3%)
23 NCIS: New Orleans CBS 7.29 -1.57 (-17.7%)
24 Hawaii Five-0 CBS 7.21 -1.08 (-13%)
25 Dancing With the Stars ABC 7.12 -1.93 (-21.3%)
26 NCIS: Los Angeles CBS 7.11 -0.79 (-10%)
27 Chicago PD NBC 7.05 +0.65 (+10.2%)
28 Grey's Anatomy ABC 6.78 -0.78 (-10.3%)
29 Bull CBS 6.71 -3.91 (-36.8%)
30 American Idol - Monday ABC 6.7 -1.05 (-13.5%)
31 The Good Doctor ABC 6.69 -3.08 (-31.5%)
32 The World's Best CBS 6.63* n/a
33 The Bachelor ABC 6.59 +0.1 (+1.5%)
34 The Neighborhood CBS 6.48 n/a
35 Manifest NBC 6.48 n/a
36 Ellen's Game of Games NBC 6.21 -1.74 (-21.9%)
37 MacGyver CBS 6.11 -0.75 (-10.9%)
38 Murphy Brown CBS 6.06 n/a
39 Magnum P.I. CBS 5.99 n/a
40 New Amsterdam NBC 5.92 n/a
41 911 Fox 5.87 -0.45 (-7.1%)
42 Life in Pieces CBS 5.72 -0.75 (-11.6%)
43 Last Man Standing Fox 5.71 -0.7 (-10.9%)^
44 Fam CBS 5.58 n/a
45 America's Funniest Home Videos ABC 5.45 +0.25 (+4.8%)
46 Madam Secretary CBS 5.41 -0.75 (-12.2%)
47 Man With a Plan CBS 5.33 -0.44 (-7.6%)
48 SWAT CBS 5.3 -0.59 (-10%)
49 Station 19 ABC 5.28 +0.01 (+0.2%)
50 The Code CBS 5.17 n/a
51 Saturday Night Football ABC 5.15 +0.23 (+4.7%)
52 SEAL Team CBS 5.03 -1.63 (-24.5%)
53 The Resident Fox 5.02 +0.48 (+10.6%)
54 The Goldbergs ABC 4.9 -0.69 (-12.3%)
55 The Titan Games NBC 4.85 n/a
56 Modern Family ABC 4.83 -0.86 (-15.1%)
  The Amazing Race CBS 4.83 -0.77 (-13.8%)
58 Criminal Minds CBS 4.67 -1.06 (-18.5%)
59 The Bachelorette ABC 4.65 -1.14 (-19.7%)**
60 Happy Together CBS 4.63 n/a
61 Football Night in America Pt 2 NBC 4.58 -0.93 (-16.9%)
62 Empire Fox 4.52 -1.14 (-20.1%)
63 The Enemy Within NBC 4.42 n/a
64 Celebrity Big Brother CBS 4.4 -0.65 (-12.9%)
65 Dancing With the Stars: Juniors ABC 4.32 n/a
66 A Million Little Things ABC 4.27 n/a
67 The Cool Kids Fox 4.23 n/a
68 The Great Christmas Light Fight ABC 4.22 -0.36 (-7.9%)
69 The Rookie ABC 4.14 n/a
  American Housewife ABC 4.14 -0.44 (-9.6%)
71 Law & Order: SVU NBC 4.13 -1.82 (-30.6%)
72 The Village NBC 4.12 n/a
73 The Blacklist NBC 3.97 -1.68 (-29.7%)^^
74 Schooled ABC 3.94 n/a
75 The Kids Are Alright ABC 3.9 n/a
76 The Red Line CBS 3.85 n/a
77 The Passage Fox 3.73 n/a
78 Shark Tank ABC 3.69 -0.36 (-8.9%)
  World of Dance NBC 3.69 -1.94 (-34.5%)**
80 48 Hours CBS 3.66 -0.27 (-6.9%)
81 Dateline - Sunday NBC 3.63 -0.31 (-7.9%)
82 20/20 ABC 3.55 +0.61 (+20.7%)
83 Star Fox 3.54 -0.58 (-14.1%)
84 24 Hours to Hell and Back Fox 3.47 +0.17 (+5.2%)**
85 The Great American Baking Show ABC 3.44 n/a
86 NBA Saturday Primetime ABC 3.41 +0.03 (+0.9%)
87 Bless This Mess ABC 3.35 n/a
  Dateline - Friday NBC 3.35 -1.2 (-26.4%)
89 Single Parents ABC 3.3 n/a
90 Black-ish ABC 3.29 -0.98 (-23%)
  Whiskey Cavalier ABC 3.29 n/a
92 Dateline Saturday Mystery NBC 3.21 +0.21 (+7%)
93 The Orville Fox 3.16 -0.48 (-13.2%)
94 The Simpsons Fox 3.11 -0.34 (-9.9%)
95 The Fix ABC 3.09 n/a
96 Lethal Weapon Fox 3.06 -1.05 (-25.5%)
  Superstore NBC 3.06 -0.64 (-17.3%)
98 Fresh Off the Boat ABC 3.03 -0.8 (-20.9%)^^
99 Will & Grace NBC 3.02 -2.48 (-45.1%)
100 For the People ABC 2.87 +0.33 (+13%)
101 How to Get Away With Murder ABC 2.84 -0.86 (-23.2%)
  Blindspot NBC 2.84 -0.42 (-12.9%)
103 Masterchef Junior Fox 2.78 -0.41 (-12.9%)
104 Splitting Up Together ABC 2.76 -1.56 (-36.1%)
105 Hell's Kitchen Fox 2.75 -0.38 (-12.1%)
106 The Good Place NBC 2.71 -1.17 (-30.2%)
107 Million Dollar Mile CBS 2.59 n/a
108 Bob's Burgers Fox 2.45 +0.21 (+9.4%)
109 Family Guy Fox 2.4 -0.1 (-4%)
110 Ransom CBS 2.37 -0.08 (-3.3%)
111 Speechless ABC 2.36 -1.97 (-45.5%)^^
  Match Game ABC 2.36 -0.53 (-18.3%)
113 1969 ABC 2.33 n/a
114 Good Girls NBC 2.32 -2.12 (-47.7%)
115 Agents of SHIELD ABC 2.25 +0.17 (+8.2%)
  Gotham Fox 2.25 -0.28 (-11.1%)
117 Brooklyn Nine-Nine NBC 2.24
+0.48 (+27.3%)***
118 Child Support ABC 2.23 -1.82 (-44.9%)
119 Fox College Football Fox 2.13 -0.1 (-4.5%)
120 Midnight, Texas NBC 2.1 -0.89 (-29.8%)^
121 I Feel Bad NBC 2.09 n/a
122 Proven Innocent Fox 2.01 n/a
123 AP Bio NBC 1.96 -0.7 (-26.3%)
124 The Gifted Fox 1.95 -1.36 (-41.1%)
125 Mental Samurai Fox 1.77 n/a
126 Abby's NBC 1.74 n/a
127 Rel Fox 1.71 n/a
128 The Flash CW 1.7 -0.51 (-23.1%)
129 Supernatural CW 1.44 -0.25 (-14.8%)
130 The Alec Baldwin Show ABC 1.41 n/a
131 Supergirl CW 1.21 -0.63 (-34.2%)
132 Paradise Hotel Fox 1.2 n/a
133 Arrow CW 1.09 -0.18 (-14.2%)
134 Roswell, New Mexico CW 1.06 n/a
135 Riverdale CW 1.05 -0.32 (-23.4%)
136 Legacies CW 1.01 n/a
137 Black Lightning CW 0.96 -0.77 (-44.5%)
138 Legends of Tomorrow CW 0.95 -0.56 (-37.1%)
139 Charmed CW 0.85 n/a
140 The 100 CW 0.81 -0.3 (-27%)
141 All American CW 0.67 n/a
142 Jane the Virgin CW 0.65 +0.01 (+1.6%)
143 In the Dark CW 0.64 n/a
144 iZombie CW 0.63 -0.13 (-17.1%)
145 Dynasty CW 0.56 -0.12 (-17.6%)
146 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend CW 0.41 -0.22 (-34.9%)

Sources: Nielsen, THR research

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