NBC Wins Prime-Time TV Ratings (in 18-to-49) for First Time in a Decade

CBS Still the Largest Network by Sheer Audience Size

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'The Voice.'
'The Voice.' Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC

NBC never found a new Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld or "Friends" gang, but with the help of "The Voice" and the NFL, it has finally ended a decade-long losing streak among the viewers advertisers want most.

The network finished the season No. 1 in prime-time among 18-to-49-year-olds, up 13.7% to 3.47 million viewers a night, NBC said today in a statement citing Nielsen data. NBC overtook both CBS and Fox.

NBC, owned by Comcast, aired the Sochi Winter Olympics and "Sunday Night Football" in the season that started in September. The ratings victory was also powered by "The Voice" and "The Blacklist," and may help NBC lure more advertisers who are now planning how to divvy up marketing dollars for the coming TV season.

In total viewers, NBC still came in second with 9.28 million, up 33% from a year earlier but not enough to dethrone CBS, which is No. 1 in overall viewers with 10.7 million.

In a dueling statement today, CBS said it is No. 1 in prime-time among adults 18-to-49 if you exclude sports. Its win in overall viewers, meanwhile, will be the sixth in a row and the 11th out of the last 12 seasons, CBS said.

It's the first time NBC has finished above fourth place since the 2003-2004 season. It has never managed to recreate the powerful Thursday night comedy block that once was home to series such as "The Cosby Show."

~ Bloomberg News with Ad Age staff ~

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