Broadcast Primetime Nielsen TV Ratings Network Season to Date Averages

Fox Sweeps Age Demos For 2008-9 Season, CBS Wins Average Viewership

Posted on 27 May 2009 by Bill Gorman

Fox swept the season to date wins in all major age demos (18-49, 18-34, 25-54) for the 2008-9 season, while CBS was the winner for average viewers.

You may have read many reports of CBS finishing in a tie with Fox for adults 25-54. That’s CBS’s PR department using the demo rating (both finished with a 3.8), instead of the average demo viewers (where Fox won narrowly, 4.73 million to 4.67 million). In PR if you’ve got lemons, you make lemonade!

ABC finished second in adults 18-34 and third in all the other categories.

NBC was third in adults 18-34, and fourth everywhere else. Of course, without the Super Bowl numbers, NBC would be even worse. See the boost they received from Super Bowl week alone in the table below. And next year, their numbers, as pathetic as they are likely to be, will be boosted substantially by the Winter Olympics.

052409networkstd(click chart for full sized image)

Here is the boost NBC received to its averages this season from Super Bowl week alone.


Super Bowl Week Boost (million)
Viewers 0.770
18-49 0.370
18-34 0.180
25-54 0.360

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2009 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

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Related posts:

  1. American Idol, Dancing With The Stars Top Average Viewership For 2008-9 Season
  2. Fox Holds Season Lead In Age Demos With One Week To Go
  3. Fox Sweeps Age Demos, Grammy Awards Help CBS Top Viewers
  4. Fox Sweeps Away Competition In Final Week of 2008-9 Season
  5. Fox Now Holds Season To Date Lead In All Major Age Demos

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Robert Seidman says:

    The issue with ties isn’t a network PR convention, it’s a Nielsen reporting convention. Whether it be household, total people or demos, Nielsen defaults in its PUBLIC reporting to using RATINGS points, and only out to one decimal point at that.

    As a result whatever the category there are usually MANY ties where none really exist. But in Nielsen’s defense, those absolute differences are usually so tiny that it doesn’t really matter and for all practical purposes they are tied. I suspect this is a legacy convention that might never change, but it’s fair inasmuch as it advantages ALL networks’ PR teams equally!

    Fortunately in the broadcast world, it’s hardly ever worth even mentioning. If you used only one decimal place, even with viewers, FOX and CBS did tie in 25-54 for the year. PR or otherwise, CBS was hardly dealt lemons for the year.

    In the cable world, where the PR teams can (and do!) avail themselves to coverage ratings within demos, a more significant range of absolute viewing can be masked by ties. Instances where there are shows with higher coverage ratings but fewer viewers than shows with lower coverage ratings are plentiful.

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