CBS Tops TV Ratings for 10th Consecutive Season

CBS is on course to lead the season in TV ratings for the 10th consecutive season.

The network is wrapping up another stellar year in terms of viewership, and season finale events have only bolstered the numbers. According to a report by the Associated Press, CBS has had the highest Nielsen ratings of any network for 15 of the past 16 seasons, and this will be the tenth in a row.

The conventional TV season runs from September until the end of May. It officially ends on Wednesday, leaving other networks very little room to catch up. In the last 16 years, CBS was unseated from its throne only once — at the height of American Idol mania.

This year, CBS reportedly averaged 9 million viewers in prime time. By comparison, NBC averaged 8.9 million, thanks in large part to the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl. Behind them, ABC made an average of 6.1 million while Fox lagged with an average of 4.9 million.

“This is an amazing accomplishment,” said CBS entertainment president Kelly Kahl. CBS executives were particularly proud to come out on top on the strength of their normal programming, without relying on too much live event coverage.

This year marks NBC's closest attempt to unseat CBS in 16 years. In fact, NBC did win out in the key demographic of adults 18 to 49 years old. This group is especiall important to advertisers, who believe they spend more money than the rest.

Last week, CBS won the week overall with an average of 6.6 million viewers. NBC came in second with 5 million, ABC had 4.5 million and Fox had 2.5 million. Behind them came Univision, the CW, ION Television and Telemundo, all with between 1.5 and 1 million viewers.

Still, other networks will make up at least some ground this week. On Tuesday, May 22 ABC will close out its unexpectedly successful reboot season of Roseanne, which is expected to draw a huge crowd. In contrast, CBS has already enjoyed the huge event finales of both The Big Bang Theory and NCIS.

As next season announcements began coming out, Kahl also let slip that she was hoping The Big Bang Theory might go on past its upcoming twelfth season. Early assumptions were that this upcoming season would be the show's last. According to a report by Deadline, season 12 fulfills a two-season contract, as well as a two-year deal for the cast. However, based on its current popularity, the network executives are hoping the show will keep going for years to come.

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Kahl told Deadline: "we are hopeful that there will be more seasons of Big Bang beyond the upcoming 12th."

“As long as Chuck and his team have stories to tell, we will take the show for as long as they want to go,” Kahl said. “We can take a few more seasons.”