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NBC Named America's Most-Watched Broadcast Network for the First Time in 16 Years

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For the first time since 2001-2002, NBC has overtaken CBS as America’s most-watched network of the season, as Variety reports.

Nielsen Media Research has named NBC the most popular broadcast network across all demographics for 2017-2018. Nielsen ratings seek to determine the size and attributes of television audiences in the U.S. over 52-week seasons.

In adults ages 18-49, one of the most coveted demographics, NBC finishes the Nielsen season as the top broadcaster. ABC and CBS tied for second place, with Fox and The CW following.

In addition to coming in first for groups aged 18-49, NBC is the top network in every other key demographic. This marks the first time in 10 years that a network has won the 52-week season in every major demographic and total viewers—an achievement last attained a decade ago by Fox, in the 2007-2008 season.

“In a world where we’re constantly fighting fragmentation and the volume of choices that are available to the audience… it’s really an accomplishment to be the most-watched network in the country,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told Variety. “That’s kind of extraordinary. It hasn’t happened here in a long time. It’s really kind of difficult to get any kind of mass audience together these days.”

Naturally, the next question is: How did NBC manage to secure this massive audience?

NBC got one of its biggest viewership boosts from the 2018 Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. The network also aired highly rated and extremely popular programs including This Is Us, Sunday Night Football and Ellen’s Game of Games.

NBC continues to host sought-after award shows and specials, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November, the Golden Globes in January and the Billboard Music Awards in May.

But despite these big hits, NBC still trailed ABC by the end of spring 2018. NBC was only able to surpass CBS over the summer thanks to popular reality TV and ongoing competition shows like America’s Got Talent, World of Dance and Making It.

Additionally, NBC’s late-night shows, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers, managed to pull ahead of the competition over recent months. Saturday Night Live also continued to attract viewers in bulk. Meanwhile, other networks failed to create shows to rival NBC’s late-night popularity, with CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert being one of the only talk shows to come close.

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