Samba TV’s 2018 Most-Watched Primetime Rankings

By | 2018-12-21T14:10:42+00:00 December 20th, 2018|Research|

Another year in the Golden Era of television is coming to a close. With so many content and programming options, Samba TV looked back at what was resonating with viewers for our first annual Most-Watched Rankings list for 2018.

Samba’s data science wizards sifted through and analyzed a year of viewership data to determine which US primetime broadcasts had the highest household viewership across several categories (defined by a HH consuming at least five cumulative minutes of the broadcast). See our results below:

2018 Most-Watched Primetime Broadcasts: Top-10

1) Super Bowl LII (NBC) 34.1MM Households 

No surprises here – the NFL’s marquee event consistently ranks as the most-watched television broadcast year after year. See Samba TV’s Super Bowl LII analysis for viewership and audience insights on the year’s biggest TV event.

2) State Of The Union (Simulcast) 17.7MM Households

3) Sunday Night Football – Patriots vs. Packers (NBC) 16.3MM Households

4) Sunday Night Football – Patriots vs. Chiefs (NBC) 15.6MM Households 

5) 2018 Winter Olympics – Opening Ceremony, February 9th (NBC) 15.3MM Households 

6) 2018 Winter Olympics – Men’s Snowboarding Final, February 13th (NBC) 15.2MM Households

7) 2018 Winter Olympics – Women’s Snowboarding Final, February 12th (NBC) 15.1MM Households

8) Sunday Night Football – Falcons vs. Eagles (NBC) 14.7MM Households

9) Thursday Night Football – Saints vs. Cowboys (FOX) 14.6MM Households

9) College Football Championship (ESPN) 14.4MM Households 


2018 Most-Watched Broadcast: Reality

The Voice (NBC) 6.0MM Households

The reality hit scored big in 2018, reaching six million households with it’s highest-watched episode on March 12th as viewers tuned-in for ‘The Blind Auditions’.


2018 Most-Watched Broadcast: Awards

90th Academy Awards (ABC) 14.1MM Households

Of all the tentpole awards shows in 2018, the Oscars still reign supreme. More than 14MM households tuned-in to watch Jimmy Kimmel host the 90th annual ceremony on March 4th. The Shape Of Water walked away with four awards including Best Picture and Best Director.


2018 Most-Watched Broadcast: Reboots

Roseanne (ABC) 5.7MM Households

2018 was officially the Year Of The Reboot, driven by a need for nostalgia and an opportunity for networks to reach new audiences with proven (if outdated) TV franchises. Roseanne easily exceeded all expectations, and the premiere episode on March 27th was viewed in nearly 6MM households. Samba TV tracked reboot trends throughout the year, so be sure to check out our insights library for more reboot trends and analyses.


2018 Most-Watched Broadcast: Miscellaneous

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (NBC) 4.5MM Households

In probably the most surprising first place ranking, NBC’s July 4th fireworks broadcast had strong household viewership in our “miscellaneous” category (excluding sports, reboots, awards, politics and reality). The dog days of summer are typically light on TV content, plus the increasing HH penetration of hi-def and 4k TV’s likely made the viewing experience of fireworks more compelling – all adding up to 4.5MM households tuning-in.


Samba TV logo



Contact Us
Thank you! We'll be in touch with you shortly to assist you.