Nielsen Social Content Ratings, 2016-17 TV Season: The Walking Dead, Super Bowl LI Dominate

The Grammys and the Oscars were the top two TV specials from Sept. 18, 2016, through May 24, 2017

There were 2.9 billion social interactions on Facebook and Twitter related to the 2016-17 television season, according to Nielsen Social Content Ratings. Which series, special and sports events drew the most buzz?

From Sept. 18, 2016, through May 24, 2017, AMC’s The Walking Dead made the competition look like zombies, averaging 2.028 million interactions across Facebook and Twitter per episode. Fox’s Empire came in a distant second, at 860,000, and ABC’s The Bachelor, in turn, came in a distant third, at 453,000.

Nielsen also highlighted a late surge by NBC’s This Is Us, saying that nearly one-fifth of its almost 7 million total interactions across the two social networks were driven by its final episode of the season.

In addition to the shows themselves, Nielsen analyzed interactions with talent, saying in a release announcing its findings:

In the season finale of The Walking Dead April 3, series star Chandler Riggs drove a significant portion (15 percent) of all owned engagement for the episode, more than any other talent, program or network account associated with TWD. By sending 22 tweets during airtime, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’s official program account, @LoveHipHopVH1, was able to drive over two-thirds (68 percent) of all owned engagement for the season finale May 8.

Awards for the best music and movies dominated the Nielsen Social Content Ratings for specials during the 2016-17 television season, with CBS’ presentation of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards spurring 27.6 million interactions across Facebook and Twitter, followed by ABC’s airing of the 89th Academy Awards, at 22.086 million.

NBC’s broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards finished a distant third, with 10.1 million interactions across the two social networks.

Super Bowl LI lived up to its name when it came to the rankings for sports, with Fox’s broadcast of the National Football League title game—in which the New England Patriots recovered from a 28-3 deficit to stun the Atlanta Falcons—spurring 190.78 million interactions across Facebook and Twitter.

NFL playoff games claimed the next three spots on the list, as well: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys, 52.878 million; Packers at Falcons, 26.431 million; and Pittsburgh Steelers at Patriots, 24.349 million.

Image courtesy of Aksonov/iStock. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.