An eight-year ratings winning streak has been snapped, with a new No. 1 among the broadcast networks in the key demo of viewers 18-49.
EW.com’s Inside TV reports that CBS has claimed the No. 1 spot for the 1012-13 season, having built up an insurmountable lead with two nights remaining. The win breaks Fox’s eight-year win streak.
CBS also won total viewers, but that’s nothing new: The Tiffany Network has won that metric in 10 of the past 11 seasons. However, CBS was the only network among the Big Four to improve from the previous season in total viewers.
In the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo, all four networks were down — but Fox, plagued by problems with “American Idol,” posted by far the biggest decline, losing 22%. Fox still finished second.
CBS was down 3% in 18-49, averaging a 2.9 rating; Fox’s 22% drop left it with a 2.5 average; NBC fell 4% to average a 2.4, good for third place; and ABC lost 8%, averaging a 2.2 rating to finish fourth.
In total viewers, CBS gained 1% from a year ago to average 11.8 million, finishing well ahead of the competition. Second-place ABC fell 6% to average 7.8 million, Fox lost 20% to come in third with 7.1 million and NBC dipped 6% to finish fourth with 7.0 million.
This is the first time in 21 years that CBS will win the 18-49 demo, the story reports, and CBS would rank No. 1 even if its Super Bowl coverage were excluded. CBS has nine of the top 15 scripted shows in prime time.
“During a press breakfast for reporters last week, CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves relished the current standings,” EW reports. “Yet CBS only deserves partial credit for its ranking this season. The network maintained roughly the same ratings as last year — which is certainly no easy task in an era of increasing DVR use, streaming and competition from cable networks. But it was Fox declining 22 percent due to softening ‘American Idol’ popularity and other factors that gave CBS the trophy.”
Fox will try to fight back next fall, the report notes, and it will have a few new weapons. Among them are the action-drama “Almost Human” from J.J. Abrams, a new “24” as a limited series, and a retooled “Idol” with new judges.