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Most watched TV networks among adults aged 18-49 in the U.S. 2019

In 2019, NBC had 1.73 million average viewers, making it the leading ad supported TV network in the United States among adults in the 18 to 49 demographic group. NBC also topped the ranking of most viewed TV shows in the U.S. in the 2018/19 season, with NFL Sunday Night Football drawing in an average of 19.28 million viewers. The network’s popular show ‘This Is Us’ made the top ten too, with more average viewers than ABC’s ‘The Good Doctor’ and CBS show ‘Blue Bloods’.

Best performing TV networks in the U.S.

The extent of NBC’s success in 2018 is even clearer when considering the vast difference between NBC and the networks ranking in second and third place. ABC amassed 1.65 million average viewers in 2018, and Fox had 1.64 million, meaning that NBC had over 700 thousand more average viewers than both of its close competitors. In fourth place was CBS with 1.56 million, partially thanks to police drama ‘NCIS’ which on average drew in almost 16 million viewers that year. Interestingly, although Fox ranked third among the leading ad supported U.S. networks, none of Fox’s shows secured a place in the top ten most watched shows of 2018 aside from the Fox/NFL Network broadcast Thursday Night Football. Shows such as ‘Last Man Standing’ and ‘9-1-1’ did not fare well, and right at the very bottom of the ranking was ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ with just 4.1 million average viewers.

TV shows aside, some of the highest performing cable networks are those which specialize in news. This is where Fox tends to excel, regularly pulling in over two million primetime viewers each month. Other cable news networks competing with Fox include MSNBC which tends to rank second, followed by CNN which sometimes struggles to amass one million.

Leading ad supported broadcast and cable networks among adults aged 18 to 49 in the United States in 2019, by average number of viewers

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Release date

December 2019


United States

Survey time period

December 31, 2018 1 to December 1, 2019

Age group

18-49 years

Supplementary notes

The sources states that the ranking excludes "certain digital networks, as well as cable networks that aren't measured by Nielsen."

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