With the 2012-13 TV season in the book, the top primetime show on the major networks isn't a scripted or reality program. Instead, it's Sunday Night Football. This marks the second straight year that a sports program has been the most-viewed primetime program. NBC's weekly NFL presentation averaged 21.5 million viewers this year, barely edging out CBS's NCIS, which averaged 21.3 million viewers for the season.
Sunday Night Football crushed the competition in all of the major demographics as well. In the adults 18-49 demo, SNF's 8.2 rating topped The Big Bang Theory's 6.2 rating. In adults 18-34, SNF beat The Big Bang Theory by an even wider margin: 7.2 to 4.5.
It's funny, though. Despite SNF being the most-watched show on primetime TV, the rating actually slightly dropped from the 2011 season to the 2012 season, falling from a 12.9 to a 12.8. But at the end of the day, any network would be elated with a rating like that in this day and age of declining network ratings. SNF performing well in the key demos is something that other networks would kill for, especially CBS and their aging viewer base.
In another ironic twist, NBC's weekday primetime lineup was an unbelievable disaster during this TV season, occasionally slipping to fifth in the rankings. If it weren't for SNF, the network would be a ship without a rudder, wandering aimlessly through the ocean of the TV world.