NBC Takes Gold as Most-Watched Network for First Time Since 2002

Thanks to the Winter Olympics, This Is Us and the Super Bowl, NBC won the gold in the race for the most-watched network and taking a slim lead over CBS. It's the first time the peacock network gave CBS a run for its money since 2002.

NBC logged 9.57 million viewers on average, as opposed to CBS' 9.39 million on average, based on the most up-to-date Nielsen data available, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The 2% lead can only grow for NBC, as the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have only just started.

This is also the first time any network moved ahead of CBS since the 2007-2008 season, when Fox took advantage of American Idol, the Super Bowl and the Writers Guild of America strike.

Holding the lead will be a challenge for NBC. The network's 2017-2018 TV season was front-loaded with Sunday Night Football, the Super Bowl and the Olympics. For the rest of the season, the network will have to rely on The Voice's first season with Kelly Clarkson and This Is Us. CBS, on the other hand, still has its old reliables, including NCIS and The Big Bang Theory.

NBC will have no problem holding on to its lead in the covered 18-49 demographic. The network averaged a 2.47 rating through Feb. 11, beating Fox by 39 percent. It is also 2 percent gain over the same period last year, which did not have the Super Bowl.

The last time NBC was America's most watched network was in 2002. That season, the network had Friends averaging an astonishing 24.5 million viewers a week. ER averaged 22.1 million viewers, while The West Wing was averaging 17.2 million. That kind of live viewership is mostly unheard of today. Even This Is Us is only averaging 16.6 million viewers per episode, with Live+7 DVR viewership included.

Here is how the Big Four broadcasters are doing so far, compared to the 2016-2017 season averages.

Total Viewers

1. NBC - 9.569 million (up 7 percent over 2016-17)

2. CBS - 9.385 million (down 8 percent)

3. ABC - 5.911 million (down 7 percent)

4. Fox - 5.892 million (down 19 percent)

Adult 18-49 Rating

1. NBC - 2.47 (up 2 percent)

2. Fox - 1.77 (down 24 percent)

3. CBS - 1.66 (down 15 percent)

4. ABC - 1.45 (down 12 percent)

Photo credit: NBC