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NBC has snagged a 52-week ratings crown in both total viewers and adults 18-49 for the first time in three years.
Thanks in no small part to the Summer Olympics, the network edged CBS in viewers and Fox in the 18-49 demographic for the period from Sept. 21, 2020-Sept. 19, 2021. NBC averaged 5.29 million viewers in primetime for the TV year, a slim 30,000 more than CBS (5.26 million). ABC ranks third with 4.31 million, and Fox is at 3.56 million.
In the key ad demo of adults 18-49, NBC scored a 1.0 rating for the year, equivalent to about 1.294 million people in that age range. CBS is again in second at 0.9, and ABC and Fox are tied at 0.8.
“In an era with no shortage of viewing options, the reach and impact of broadcast television is still undeniable,” said Frances Berwick, chairman entertainment networks at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “NBC remains a pillar of strength both within our portfolio as well as the larger television landscape, and we’re excited about the future as we continue to grow and connect our TV and streaming business.”
CBS, which aired the Super Bowl in February, won the traditional September to May TV season in total viewers, ending with an 850,000 viewer lead over NBC. Although the Olympics were down considerably from the last summer games in 2016, they still outdrew everything else in the summer by wide margins, helping push NBC into first place. The network also had the top regular summer program in America’s Got Talent and the No. 1 in-season series in Sunday Night Football.
NBC’s 52-week win in both viewers and adults 18-49 is its first since 2018 — not coincidentally, the last time it had the Olympics on its air (the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea).
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