Sporting and live events dominated when it came to wooing U.S. TV viewers in 2012, as has been the case in recent years. Super Bowl XLVI set new viewership heights, by netting 111.3 million viewers, to edge out viewership for last year’s Super Bowl (111.0 million viewers).
Competition reality programming continued to garner high viewership as well. American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and The Voice all made the Top Ten list of regularly scheduled programs. For the second year in a row, only two scripted shows made the same list. This year it was NCIS and Vegas.
Time-shifting played a larger role in American viewing habits in 2012, as evidenced by the significant lift in program viewership, most notably with cable programming. Viewers time-shifted more of their viewing than in 2011, as each program on the list more than doubled its live viewership—last year, the highest gain was 90 percent. Cable shows comprised 90 percent of this year’s list and all of the top time-shifted shows were scripted dramas.
Stay tuned to Nielsen Wire for upcoming year end Tops of 2012 lists, including the tops in entertainment, advertising and digital.
|Rank||Telecast||Originator||Date Aired||Persons 2+ Rating||Total Viewers (000)|
|1||Super Bowl XLVI||NBC||02/05/2012||38.4||111,346|
|2||Super Bowl Pre-Kick||NBC||02/05/2012||29.4||85,244|
|3||Super Bowl Post||NBC||02/05/2012||26.5||76,803|
|4||Super Bowl Kick-Off||NBC||02/05/2012||23.1||67,039|
|5||FOX NFC Champtionship||FOX||01/22/2012||19.9||57,635|
|6||AFC Championship on CBS||CBS||01/22/2012||16.8||48,676|
|7||FOX NFC Playoff-SUN||FOX||01/15/2012||15.6||45,120|
|8||AFC Wildcard Playoff||CBS||01/08/2012||14.6||42,371|
|9||Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony||NBC||07/27/2012||14.0||40,651|
Data from January 1, 2012 – November 25, 2012. English- and Spanish-language telecasts on Broadcast and Cable, Total Day. Persons 2+ estimates include Live and Same Day time-shifted viewing. Excludes telecasts under 5 minutes in duration.