“FBI” became the first scripted program to top the ratings in the 2021-22 prime-time television season, a distinction that went to sporting events 24 of the season’s previous 29 weeks, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Tuesday.
The CBS crime drama averaged 7.392 million viewers, one of three prime-time programs between April 11 and Sunday to top 7 million viewers. “60 Minutes” was second, averaging 7.124 million viewers, and the NBC drama “Chicago Fire” third, averaging 7.107 million.
NFL games topped ratings 20 times during the season, along with two Winter Olympics telecasts and two NCAA men’s basketball tournament games. The CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” has finished first four times while ABC’s Oscars telecast topped the week of March 21-27.
CBS had five of the top seven programs, making it the most-watched network for the eighth time in the eight weeks following the conclusion of NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics, and 14th time in the season, averaging 4.53 million viewers.
CBS had the most-watched comedy, “Young Sheldon,” which was fourth, averaging 6.849 million viewers, and the most-watched first-season program, “Ghosts,” which was seventh, averaging 5.958 million.
ABC was second for the eighth consecutive week, averaging 3.49 million viewers. Its most-watched programs for the third consecutive week were the Monday and Sunday editions of “American Idol,” 13th and 14th for the week, averaging 5.306 million and 5.27 million viewers.
NBC was third, averaging 2.95 million viewers. “Chicago P.D.” was first among programs beginning at 10 p.m. and eighth overall, averaging 5.918 million viewers following “Chicago Fire.”
CBS, ABC and NBC all aired 22 hours of prime-time programming.
Fox averaged 2.79 million viewers for its 17 hours of prime-time programming, topped by the procedural drama “9-1-1,” 17th for the week averaging 5.058 million viewers.
The CW averaged 400,000 viewers for its 14 hours of programming. The crime drama “Walker” was its most-watched program for the 10th time in its 14 episodes this season, averaging 854,000 viewers, 128th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
The only premiere on the five major English-language broadcast networks, the CBS dance competition “Come Dance With Me” was 53rd among broadcast programs, averaging 2.044 million viewers from 8-10 p.m. Friday. Its overall rank was not available.
The Fox-NBC simulcast of Saturday’s inaugural game of the new version of the United States Football League averaged 3.067 million viewers, 43rd for the week and second among Saturday’s prime-time programs.
The 20 most-watched prime-time programs consisted 11 programs that aired on CBS — eight scripted series episodes, “60 Minutes,” The CMT Music Awards and the alternative series “Survivor”; four NBC scripted programs; three ABC alternative programs; the Fox procedural drama “9-1-1”; and Sunday’s Chicago Bulls-Milwaukee Bucks NBA playoff game on TNT.
The most-watched cable program was TNT’s coverage of Sunday’s first-round Eastern Conference playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, which averaged 4.772 million viewers, 19th overall and the most for a prime-time sporting event, part of the NBA’s most-viewed opening playoff weekend since 2011.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable network for the third consecutive week and 12th in the past 13, averaging 2.242 million viewers. TNT was second, averaging 1.593 million, and ESPN third, averaging 1.228 million.
The cable top 20 consisted of four NBA postseason games on TNT; two NBA Play-In Tournament games on ESPN; 12 Fox News Channel political talk shows – – five broadcasts of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” four of “Hannity” and three of “The Ingraham Angle”; History’s long-running chronicle of a search for treasure on a Canadian island, “The Curse of Oak Island”; and the Hallmark Channel period drama “When Calls The Heart.”
An episode of the Univision telenovela “Madre” was the most-watched Spanish-language program for the fourth time in seven weeks, with the Wednesday episode averaging 2.012 million viewers, 55th among broadcast programs. Its overall rank was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 124th consecutive week and 126th time in 127 weeks, averaging 1.39 million viewers. Telemundo was second, averaging 800,000 viewers, followed by UniMas (520,000), Estrella TV (110,000) and Azteca America (50,000).
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched nightly newscast for the 123rd time in 124 weeks and 175th time in 177 weeks, averaging 7.969 million viewers. “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 6.638 million.
The “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” was third, averaging 4.63 million.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were CBS’ “FBI” and “60 Minutes”; NBC’s “Chicago Fire”; CBS’ “Young Sheldon”; NBC’s “Chicago Med”; CBS’ “The Equalizer” and “Ghosts”; NBC’s “Chicago P.D.”; and CBS’ “FBI: International” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”