Nielsen, AP

Wow: Only One Scripted Series Makes the Top 20 in Prime-Time Viewership Totals for Last Week

Jan 6, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Viewership data released by Nielsen for the week of Dec. 28 paints a vivid picture of how dominant football has become — and how hard it is for scripted programming to compete. On the list of the top 20 prime-time programs for the week in total viewers, only one scripted show, CBS’s “NCIS,” makes the list, coming in at No. 15 with an average of 10.37 million viewers.

Sixteen of the 20 shows are football programming, with the usual NFL juggernauts joined by college football, much of it on ESPN. The highest non-football program is CBS’s “60 Minutes” at No. 8, with 15.36 million viewers. The only other non-football programming to make the list consists of two parts of the special ABC programming celebrating New Year’s Eve: “Prime-Time New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” (Part 2) at No. 11 with 13.02 million viewers, and “Prime-Time New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” at No. 20 with 8.13 million.

The top program of the week was NBC’s Sunday Night NFL game between Minnesota and Green Bay, which delivered 24.29 million viewers, followed by the College Football Semifinal on ESPN featuring Michigan State vs. Alabama, with 18.55 million. ESPN holds 13 of the top 20 spots, all consisting of college football games, NFL games and football-focused studio shows. ESPN’s other College Football Semifinal, featuring Oklahoma vs. Clemson, came in at No. 7 with 15.64 million.

The Top 20 can be found here, as published by the AP.

espn college football new year's six


  1. Well dang, what do you expect? These are all bowl or playoff games, and all other programming is either reruns or special seasonal broadcasts.

  2. Last week most scripted offerings were reruns. That has a definite impact on viewership of entertainment vs sports.

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