NBC appears to be closing in on what would be a milestone achievement for the network. Riding high on the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, the Peacock Network has built up a significant lead over CBS in total prime-time viewers and could finish the season at No. 1 in the metric.
Bloomberg reports that if NBC can hang on to its lead through the end of the broadcast season in May, “it would mark the first time that NBC finished No. 1 in total viewers since 2002, when ‘Friends’ and ‘E.R.’ led the ratings.”
NBC “is averaging more than 10 million viewers a night, according to Nielsen data,” Bloomberg notes. “That’s an increase of almost 16 percent from a year earlier and compares with about 9 million for CBS. ABC and Fox are far behind, with about 5.9 million and 5.5 million, respectively. NBC took the lead in mid-February for the first time in 16 years, marking an impressive turnaround from five years ago, when the network ranked fourth.”
It’s rare for one network to have both the Olympics and the Super Bowl in season — it hadn’t happened since 12 years ago, the report notes.
“Excluding sports, CBS still led NBC by about 2 million viewers a night as of Feb. 12, according to Nielsen data,” Bloomberg notes, adding: “Next year, CBS will air the Super Bowl — the most watched program in all of television.”