NEW YORK, N.Y. – The newsmagazine “60 Minutes” was not television’s most popular program this year, but for the 11th consecutive season it had more people who watched at least once during the year than any other non-sports show on TV.
The Nielsen company’s cumulative measurement of programs may not mean much in the business of television, but it’s a bragging point at CBS News.
For the purpose of setting advertising rates, the currency of television is Nielsen’s estimate of how many people watch a program in a given week. By that measurement, the since-departed ABC sitcom “Roseanne,” with an average of 18.7 million viewers on the night an episode debuts, was this past season’s champ. With 11.1 million viewers each week, “60 Minutes” was No. 18 on television in that ranking.
But Nielsen estimated that 100.4 million people watched “60 Minutes” at least once during the year. That was second only to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” franchise, whose cumulative viewer figure was 111 million.
A news show is well-suited to this measurement, because while not everyone watches every week, now and then there’s a story that attracts their interest. Meanwhile, an entertainment show is more likely to have people who watch more regularly.
“I believe that doing so well in that measurement proves there’s a hunger in America for real reporting, that there’s a large pool of people who want to see the kind of quality storytelling we put on each Sunday night,” said Jeff Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes.”
NBC’s “The Voice” and “This Is Us,” and CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” round out the top five rankings in cumulative audience, Nielsen said. Both “This Is Us” and “The Big Bang Theory” also ranked in the past season’s top five in terms of popularity of each week’s episode, along with ABC’s “The Good Doctor.”
During a quiet summer week in television last year, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” was by far the dominant program.
CBS won last week in prime-time, averaging 4.4 million viewers. NBC had 4.2 million, ABC had 3.3 million, Fox had 2.3 million, ION Television had 1.39 million, Univision had 1.35 million, Telemundo had 1.2 million and the CW had 770,000.
Fox News Channel was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.83 million viewers, and had two of the top 20 shows in all of television last week following President Trump’s summit in Singapore. MSNBC averaged 1.71 million viewers, HGTV had 1.42 million, USA had 1.23 million and TBS had 1.22 million.
ABC’s “World News Tonight” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.7 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” was second with 7.3 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.5 million.
For the week of June 11-17, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 11.46 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 6.51 million; “Code Black,” CBS, 6.18 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 6.13 million; “World of Dance,” NBC, 6.07 million; “Hannity” (Monday), Fox News, 5.91 million; “Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 5.89 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 5.886 million; “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 5.86 million; “Little Big Shots,” NBC, 5.68 million.
ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.