In touting itself as America’s most-watched network across all dayparts for the just concluded traditional 2017-18 television season (September to May), CBS is also celebrating 32 consecutive years as the most watched network in daytime with more than a million viewer lead over its closest competitor — ABC.
With the second half-hour of game show “The Price is Right” claiming victory as the most watched daily broadcast program overall, CBS also lays claim to the most watched daily daytime drama series with “The Young and the Restless” retaining its position with a streak that began the week of December 26-30, 1988.
CBS leads ABC by over 1.1 million viewers for the season (3.92 million vs. 2.78 million). The network also won the season in the key Women 25-54 demographic with a 1.0 rating vs. ABC’s 0.9. CBS aired seven of the top 10 most-watched shows in daytime, a daypart consisting of 13 shows overall.
What follows is a breakdown of how CBS’ daytime programming performed (by position) for the season:
1. “The Price is Right: Part 2”
2. “The Young and the Restless”
3. “The Price is Right: Part 1”
4. “The Bold and the Beautiful”
5. “Let’s Make a Deal: Part 2”
6. “Let’s Make a Deal: Part 1”
10. “The Talk”
Outside of daytime, CBS was able to make up an over one million viewer deficit in the last three months of the season to retain its title as the most watched in primetime for the 10th consecutive season. With its current average of 8.95 million viewers nightly, the network managed to overtake NBC as the most-watched despite the latter airing both Super Bowl LII and the Winter Olympics. According to Nielsen projections, CBS will rise to 9.06 million nightly viewers with all live plus 7-day numbers factored in.
“The Big Bang Theory” was able to squeak out a win as the most-watched program on television. The comedy beat out ABC’s revival of “Roseanne,” and marked the first time in 16 years that a comedy placed first — since “Friends” in 2002. “The Big Bang Theory” is also the first CBS comedy since “All in the Family” in 1976 to win the television season. Spinoff “Young Sheldon” was the most-watched new series for the season.
CBS aired 15 of the top 30 most-watched broadcast series during 2017-18, won more time periods across the schedule than all the other networks combined (winning 14 time periods), and also aired 14 programs averaging more than 10 million viewers, more than any other network.
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” placed a solid first in viewers for the second straight year, winning the season with more than a one million viewer lead over “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” ((3.85 million vs. 2.68 million). The late-night series claimed its largest viewer victory over “The Tonight Show” since the 1993-1994 television season. “Late Show” is the only late-night program to show growth season-to-season, up 21% (3.85 million from 3.20 million) year-over-year.
“The Late Late Show with James Corden” increased its audience season-to-season, up 4% (1.39 million from 1.34 million) in viewers. It was the only very late night series to do so, CBS distinguishes.
With both “The Late Show” and “The Late Late Show,” CBS easily won late-night with more than 500,000 viewers above competitors NBC and ABC (CBS = 2.61 million viewers, NBC = 2.10 million viewers and ABC = 1.95 million viewers).