NBC Wins the 2014-15 TV Season in Adults 18-49

Just beats out CBS to take the crown for the second year in a row

There are still three nights to go in the 2014-15 TV season, but NBC has already declared victory, winning the September-to-May season among adults ages 18 to 49 for a second consecutive year.

The network averaged a 2.4 rating for the season in that demographic, just edging out CBS' 2.3 and ABC's 2.2. Fox brought up the rear with a 1.9.

NBC also was second in total viewers, with 8.6 million, far behind CBS, which won with 11.3 million. ABC came in third with 8 million, and Fox again lagged behind the competition with 5.8 million. It's the second year in a row NBC finished No. 2 in total viewers and the first two times since 2003-04 the network has finished higher than fourth.

"We feel fortunate to follow our long-awaited victory last year with a second consecutive season-long win," said NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, adding that the work of his entertainment, news and sports divisions "has been the key to transforming a broadcast network that three years ago had the Super Bowl on its schedule—and, yet, still landed in last place—into the network that is still the No. 1 prime-time and late-night champion this year."  

The biggest keys to NBC's repeat victory were The Voice, the No. 1 unscripted series among 18- to 49-year-olds; NBC Sunday Night Football, broadcast TV's highest-rated series in the demographic; and, of course, the Super Bowl, which was the most-watched telecast in U.S. history with 114.4 million viewers and was ultimately what kept CBS from overtaking NBC by season's end.

That's why CBS is already "pretty confident" it will take the top spot next season, CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves told reporters last week. "We came in second to NBC in adults 18 to 49 by 122,000," said Moonves. "That's less than Paterson, N.J."—and they are airing the Super Bowl in February. But, for now, NBC has retained the crown. 

2014-15 September-to-May Season Averages (UPDATED)

(average rating, share and audience through May 20)

Adults 18-49

NBC 2.4/8, 3.0 million
CBS 2.3/7, 2.9 million
ABC 2.2/7, 2.8 million
Fox 1.9/6, 2.5 million
CW 0.8/3, 1.1 million

(Each rating point equals 1.27 million viewers.)

Total Viewers

CBS 3.8/10, 11.2 million
NBC 2.9/8, 8.6 million
ABC 2.7/7, 8.0 million
Fox 2.0/5, 5.8 million
CW 0.7/2, 2.1 million

(Each rating point equals 2.95 million viewers.)