The Top TV Programs of 2018 Were…

January 17, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Broadcast & Cable | Industries | Sports | Television | TV Audiences & Consumption

Unlike in previous years, NFL telecasts did not completely dominate 2018’s top TV single telecast programs list. Nielsen has revealed that while NFL programming like the Super Bowl LII took 5 of the top 10 spots (compared to 8 in 10 last year), other programs such as the Winter Olympics Opening ceremony, The Oscars, the CFP Championship, as well as two series also made the list.

Holding the top position again this year, Super Bowl LII brought in an average of 104.1 million average viewers, making up 34.2% of US viewers aged 2 and older. The Super Bowl Post-Game show took the number 2 position with 24.3% of US viewers. Other single telecast events had considerably less viewership with the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony capturing 9.6% of US viewers, CFP Championships at 9.2% and The Oscars having 9.0% of US viewers.

This Is Us and Rosanne Episodes Jump on the List

In the past (2017, 2016, 2015) it was rare to see regularly scheduled Prime Time television episodes making the single telecast list. However, 2018 saw two popular Prime Time shows pop onto the rankings. The February 4 episode of “This Is Us” boasts the 5th highest single telecast with 34.4 million viewers. Looking a bit closer, this high rating could be due in part to its time slot and date, being shown directly after the Super Bowl Post-Game and on the same network.

The much-awaited premiere episode of the revival of the Rosanne took the 9th spot on the list with 27.3 million viewers.

Better Call Saul Benefits from Time-Shifting

With more than half (53%) of US households having a DVR, delayed viewing of TV programs continues to be significant. Shows like Better Call Saul, which saw a 429.2% increase in viewers from time-shifted viewing, are benefiting greatly from time-shifting.

Other shows seeing an increased percentage of viewers from time-shifting include The Sinner (352.1%), American Horror Story (312.9%) and Mayans M.C (305.3%).

You can find out more about how your favorite TV programs fared in 2018 here.

About the Data: Nielsen’s Top TV Programs of 2018 – Single Telecast was compiled as follows: All Broadcast and Cable. 1/01/2018 – 11/18/2018. Live+7. Broadcast Prime. P2+. Excludes Breakouts, Duration < 5 min, & Sustainers. Manually excluded pre/post gun sports programming. Sample minimums applied.

Top Time-Shifted Programs of 2018 – Ranked by % Change in Viewers: All Broadcast and Cable. 1/01/2017 – 11/19/2017. Live & Live+7. Broadcast Prime; Primetime TSV%: Percent increase is based on absolute difference between Live & Live+7 Proj (000). P2+. A program must reach at least a 1.0 Live+7 P2+ rating. Excludes Breakouts, Specials, Repeats, Duration < 5 min, Sustainers, & programs with less than four telecasts. Sample minimums applied.

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