Fox wins broadcast season; CBS tops in viewers


Image Credit: Fox

Fox is projected to win the broadcast season among the coveted adults 18-49 demographic for the seventh consecutive time.

CBS can also claim a victory: The network wrapped up 2010-11 as the most-watched broadcaster, a title the network has held eight out of the past nine years.

The season doesn’t officially end until tomorrow, but none of the standings are close. The bigger headline is how much networks sank overall in the ratings this year, even while maintaining their standings respective to each other. As cable continues to draw more eyeballs, the broadcast nets end up losing at the same time, with NBC leading the way (down 15 percent, which the network notes is partly due to the Winter Olympics boosting the previous season). Fox remained relatively steady (down 5 percent).

Fox’s was able to maintain its strength despite overhauling American Idol this year. With Simon Cowell’s The X Factor coming in the fall, it’s tough to imagine the network not claiming another victory next season. Here’s how all the networks stacked up on average compared to last season:

2010-11 broadcast average primetime ratings

Adults 18‑49       Viewers (millions)
FOX   3.5 (-5 percent)              9.7 (-3 percent)
CBS   2.9 (-9 percent)               11.6 (-2 percent)
ABC   2.5 (-7 percent)               8.5 (-2 percent)
NBC   2.3 (-15 percent)             7.0 (-15 percent)
CW     0.9 (-10 percent)            2.0 (-1 percent)


Comments (16 total) Add your comment
  • Jane

    To bad they got rid of Human Target. See? They would still do just fine if they had kept it. What am I going to do without it next fall? Aaaannd start the ridicule now.

    • Jane

      Ok I’ll start. I spelled “to” instead of “too”

      • whatevs

        You’re already ahead of 95% of internet posters by actually knowing the difference.

      • Jane


      • Peter Bishop

        I too loved Human Target – the first season. Then the wrecked the intro music, ignored the events of the first season (the old man, etc) which is why it was entertaining in the first place, added on Ilsa who Chance had to explain EVERYTHING to and justify himself – in short it became a terrible show and was understandably cancelled

      • Jane

        Ya I know what you mean about the changes. Some of them sucked but I liked the addition of Ilsa, just wish that at times they would have written her a little differently. At times they changed Chance as well which I didn’t love either but I still loved the second season. I just kind of viewed it as 2 separate shows maybe?

  • Kirk

    FOX kept Fringe. Big for their key demographic on Friday. I liked the other shows but LOVE Fringe.

    • Jane

      Agree. I also love Fringe. If they would have gotten rid of it too well- I would have nothing left to watch on tv. Terra Nova looks interesting but I have to say (& not in a threatening way) that I probably won’t watch it as I’m scared I’ll get into it & they will cancel it.

      • Peter Bishop

        Agree with FRINGE, they also Alcatraz coming. CBS has Big Bang Theory – although its tanking in quality, and NBC does great with 30 Rock – only shows I watch

  • kevin

    Network tv sucks. I still don’t get why CBS gets so many viewers, almost all of their shows are bad.

    • Zen

      Believe it or not, a lot of America still just keeps one channel on the TV. Literally, they just come home and turn on channel 2 and will watch anything that comes on. Seems preposterous in this day and age, but that is why pretty much all new CBS shows, no matter how bad they are, always seem to make it.

  • atlanta

    The whole notion of an 18-49 demo is ridiculous. It’s time for networks to stop paying attention to only one age group, and focus more on types of viewers. CBS won in total viewers, and that seems like it’s much more important. Most of the great shows on TV are on CBS – Big Bang, Good Wife, Survivor, Amazing Race, NCIS…the only thing Fox has is a live karaoke show.

  • Kali

    I wish the CW could bring in more viewers and actually compete with the other networks. Hopefully “Ringer” with Sarah Michelle Gellar will boost their ratings next season.

  • AcaseofGeo

    “CBS Wins the Ratings Season; FOX Leads in a key demo” THAT should be the headline EW. CBS WON CBS WON CBS WON CBS WON CBS WON CBS WON CBS WON. Last time I checked, Once someone turns 50 they don’t get locked up in a basement and become a “NOTHING” in society. Your CBS bias is showing again EW.

  • Fred Cook

    TV in general is losing its audience to way too many commercials and not listening to what their customers want instead of their program managers who think they know what we want.

  • Alienate

    I can’t understand two things.
    First: Why are not cable show ratings integrated into the overall TV ratings? I watch the closer, rissoli, glades, t.u.f., daily show, colbert,tosh.0 and many other good shows on cable every week.
    Second: Why do I not count as a key demographic? I am 63, and unlike many 18 year olds that watch fringe,idol,glee,modern family ect. (like me), I actually have enough MONEY to BUY a ford focus, or some Bud Lite, or whatever the sponsor is pushing?

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