NEW YORK (AP) — For all the changes in television over the past decade — how it is consumed and the explosion of new outlets and programs — CBS' popularity with the masses remains unchallenged.
The traditional television season ended last Wednesday and, for the ninth year in a row, CBS finished as the most popular network in prime time. CBS has won 14 of the last 15 years, the Nielsen company said.
CBS' "NCIS" finished as the most-watched drama for the eighth year in a row, and "The Big Bang Theory" was the most popular comedy for the seventh straight year. With no reason to change, both series will be back next season, with "The Big Bang Theory" accompanied by a new prequel based on Sheldon's character.
Nielsen said CBS averaged 9.6 million viewers a night in prime time, with time-delayed viewing of up to seven days included. The network was down 11 percent from last season. NBC was second, essentially flat from last year, ABC was third and down 9 percent, and Fox gained 1 percent, although helped significantly by showing the Super Bowl in 2017.
The notion of a traditional TV season is slowly falling by the wayside, with more original programming available in the summer. Reality shows and games dominate the warm-weather months.
Last week, CBS won in prime time, averaging 5.2 million viewers. NBC had 4.63 million, ABC had 4.56 million, Fox had 3.3 million, Univision had 1.7 million, the CW had 1.32 million, ION Television had 1.31 million and Telemundo had 810,000.
Fox News Channel was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.25 million viewers in prime time. TNT had 2.2 million, MSNBC had 1.61 million, USA had 1.41 million and HGTV had 1.36 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.8 million viewers. ABC's "World News Tonight" was second with 7.5 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.2 million viewers.
For the week of May 22-24, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: "Dancing With the Stars" (Monday), ABC, 10.54 million; "The Voice" (Monday), NBC, 9.65 million; "The Voice" (Tuesday), NBC, 9.37 million; "Dancing With the Stars" (Tuesday), ABC, 8.91 million; "Bull," CBS, 8.54 million; "Survivor," CBS, 8.38 million; "NCIS," CBS, 8.3 million; NBA Playoffs: Boston vs. Cleveland, Game 4, TNT, 7.05 million; "Empire," Fox, 6.97 million; "60 Minutes," CBS, 6.79 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.