List of most watched television broadcasts in the United States

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The following is a list of most watched television broadcasts in the United States based on average viewership of the broadcasts by Nielsen. The Super Bowl has frequently been the most watched American television broadcast of the year. Super Bowl XLIX is currently the most watched U.S. television broadcast with 114.4 million viewers.[1]

Most watched broadcasts[edit]

The following is a list of the twenty most watched TV broadcasts in the United States according to Nielsen.[2][3]

No. Show Viewership (millions) Date Network
1 Super Bowl XLIX 114.4 February 1, 2015 NBC
2 Super Bowl XLVIII 112.2 February 2, 2014 Fox
3 Super Bowl 50 111.9 February 7, 2016 CBS
4 Super Bowl LI 111.3 February 5, 2017 Fox
5 Super Bowl XLVI 111.3 February 5, 2012 NBC
6 Super Bowl XLV 111.0 February 6, 2011 Fox
7 Super Bowl XLVII 108.7 February 3, 2013 CBS
8 Super Bowl XLIV 106.5 February 7, 2010 CBS
9 M*A*S*H (Finale) 105.9[4] February 28, 1983 CBS
10 Super Bowl LII 103.4 February 4, 2018 NBC
11 Roots (Part VIII) 100.0[5] January 30, 1977 ABC
12 Super Bowl XLIII 98.7 February 1, 2009 NBC
13 Super Bowl XLII 97.4 February 3, 2008 Fox
14 Super Bowl XXX 94.1 January 28, 1996 NBC
15 Super Bowl XLI 93.2 February 4, 2007 CBS
16 Super Bowl XX 92.6 January 26, 1986 NBC
17 Super Bowl XXVII 91.0 January 31, 1993 NBC
18 Super Bowl XL 90.7 February 5, 2006 ABC
19 Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali II 90.0[6][7] September 15, 1978 ABC
20 Super Bowl XXVIII 90.0 January 30, 1994 NBC
Super Bowl XXXII 90.0 January 25, 1998 NBC

[NOTE: There have been television audiences this large or larger for certain news events, but those totals include coverage on multiple networks. For example, 125 million viewers watched the first moon landing on July 20, 1969; CBS had the largest share of those viewers with 57 million. Richard Nixon's resignation speech on August 9, 1974 attracted 128 million viewers. 118 million viewers watched the start of the "Operation Desert Storm" military attack on Iraq on January 17, 1991. 95 million viewers watched the police highway pursuit of O.J. Simpson on June 17, 1994.]

Most watched television broadcasts by year[edit]

2017[edit]

The following is a list of the ten most watched TV broadcasts in the United States in 2017 according to Nielsen.[8]

     Indicates broadcast unrelated to sports.

No. Show Viewership
(in millions)
Date Network(s)
1 Super Bowl LI 111.3 February 5, 2017 Fox
2 Packers vs. Cowboys 48.5 January 15, 2017 Fox
3 Steelers vs. Patriots 48.0 January 22, 2017 CBS
4 Donald Trump Congressional Address 47.7 February 28, 2017 VOA
5 Packers vs. Falcons 46.3 January 22, 2017 Fox
6 Giants vs. Packers 39.3 January 8, 2017 Fox
7 Steelers vs. Chiefs 37.1 January 15, 2017 NBC
8 89th Academy Awards 32.9 February 26, 2017 ABC
9 Inauguration of Donald Trump 30.6 January 20, 2017 VOA
10 Dolphins vs. Steelers 29.9 January 8, 2017 CBS

2016[edit]

The following is a list of the ten most watched broadcasts in the United States in 2016 according to Nielsen.[9][10][11][12][13][14]

     Indicates broadcast unrelated to the 2016 election.

No. Show Viewership
(in millions)
Date Network(s)
1 Super Bowl 50 111.9 February 7, 2016 CBS
2 First presidential debate 84.0 September 26, 2016 CPD
3 Third presidential debate 71.6 October 19, 2016 CPD
4 Super Bowl 50 post-game show 70.0 February 7, 2016 CBS
5 Second presidential debate 60.3 October 9, 2016 VOA
6 World Series Game 7: Cubs vs. Indians 40.5 November 2, 2016 Fox
7 Vice presidential debate 37.0 October 4, 2016 CPD
8 Redskins vs. Cowboys 35.1 November 24, 2016 Fox
9 Donald Trump RNC acceptance speech 34.9 July 21, 2016 VOA
10 88th Academy Awards 34.4 February 28, 2016 ABC

2015[edit]

The following is a list of the ten most watched TV broadcasts in the United States in 2015 according to Nielsen.[15]

     Indicates broadcast unrelated to sports.

No. Show Viewership
(in millions)
Date Network
1 Super Bowl XLIX 115.2 February 1, 2015 NBC
2 Super Bowl XLIX post-game show 73.2 February 1, 2015 NBC
3 Colts vs. Patriots 42.3 January 18, 2015 CBS
4 87th Academy Awards 37.2 February 22, 2015 ABC
5 College Football Playoff National Championship 33.7 January 12, 2015 ESPN
6 Lions vs. Cowboys post-game show 33.1 January 4, 2015 Fox
7 Panthers vs. Seahawks 31.1 January 10, 2015 Fox
8 The Blacklist ("Luther Braxton", Super Bowl XLIX lead-out) 30.5 February 1, 2015 NBC
9 Colts vs. Broncos post-game show 28.6 January 11, 2015 CBS
10 Alabama vs. Ohio State 28.5 January 1, 2015 ESPN

Most watched TV series[edit]

Most watched by year[edit]

Nielsen began compiling ratings for television beginning in 1950. Prior to that year, television ratings were compiled by a number of other sources, including C. E. Hooper (which was bought out by Nielsen in February 1950) and Variety.

American Idol holds the record for most consecutive seasons at No. 1 (also its total), with eight. Note however that American Idol usually airs two episodes a week; for the 2005-2006 season, only the Tuesday show was ranked No. 1, overall American Idol was ranked No. 2 that season. For the show taken as a whole, it was No. 1 for six consecutive seasons.[16] All in the Family, and The Cosby Show share second place for most consecutive (and total) seasons at No. 1, with five each. Counting in for total seasons at No. 1, 60 Minutes also holds a share of a three-way second place, and is the first (and currently only) U.S. primetime television show to lead the annual Nielsen ratings in at least 3 separate decades - 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The most watched series per year was determined by the number of households viewing it from the 1950–1951 television season to the 1996–1997 television season. It has been determined by the number of persons viewing it since the 1997–1998 television season.

Season Live + Same-day Live + 3 DVR Live + 7 DVR
Show Network Viewers/
Households[a]
(in millions)
Show Network Viewers
(in millions)
Show Network Viewers
(in millions)
1950s
1950–1951 Texaco Star Theatre NBC 6.28[17] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1951–1952 Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts CBS 8.23[18] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1952–1953 I Love Lucy 13.73[19] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1953–1954 15.29[20] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1954–1955 15.14[21] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1955–1956 The $64,000 Question 16.58[22] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1956–1957 I Love Lucy 17.00[23] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1957–1958 Gunsmoke 18.07[24] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1958–1959 17.40[25] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1959–1960 18.44[26] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1960s
1960–1961 Gunsmoke CBS 17.61[27] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1961–1962 Wagon Train NBC 15.59[28] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1962–1963 The Beverly Hillbillies CBS 18.11[29] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1963–1964 20.18[30] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1964–1965 Bonanza NBC 19.13[31] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1965–1966 17.12[32] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1966–1967 16.04[33] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1967–1968 The Andy Griffith Show CBS 18.52[34] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1968–1969 Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In NBC 18.52[35] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1969–1970 15.39[36] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1970s
1970–1971 Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 17.79[37] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1971–1972 All in the Family CBS 21.11[38] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1972–1973 21.58[39] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1973–1974 20.65[40] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1974–1975 20.69[41] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1975–1976 20.95[42] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1976–1977 Happy Days ABC 22.43[43] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1977–1978 Laverne & Shirley 23.04[44] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1978–1979 22.72[45] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1979–1980 60 Minutes CBS 21.67[46] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1980s
1980–1981 Dallas CBS 27.57[47] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1981–1982 23.15[48] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1982–1983 60 Minutes 21.24[49] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1983–1984 Dallas 21.54[50] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1984–1985 Dynasty ABC 21.23[51] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1985–1986 The Cosby Show NBC 28.95[52] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1986–1987 30.50[53] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1987–1988 Unknown N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1988–1989 23.14[54] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1989–1990 21.28[55] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Roseanne ABC N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1990s
1990–1991 Cheers NBC 19.83[56] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1991–1992 60 Minutes CBS 20.17[57] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1992–1993 20.39[58] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1993–1994 19.69[59] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1994–1995 Seinfeld NBC 19.65[60] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1995–1996 ER 21.10[61] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1996–1997 30.79[62] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1997–1998 Seinfeld 34.10[63] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1998–1999 ER 25.40[64] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
1999–2000 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Tues) ABC Unknown N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2000s
2000–2001 Survivor CBS 29.80[65] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2001–2002 Friends NBC 24.50[66] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2002–2003 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS 26.12[67] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2003–2004 American Idol (Tues) Fox 25.73[68] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2004–2005 27.32[69] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2005–2006 31.17[70] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2006–2007 American Idol (Wed) 30.58[71] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2007–2008 American Idol (Tues) 28.80[72] N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
2008–2009 American Idol (Wed) 25.53[73] N/A N/A N/A American Idol (Wed) Fox 26.88[73]
2009–2010 American Idol (Tues) 22.97[74] N/A N/A N/A American Idol (Tues) 24.71[75]
2010s
2010–2011 American Idol (Wed) Fox 23.37[76] N/A N/A N/A American Idol (Wed) Fox 25.97[77]
2011–2012 NBC Sunday Night Football NBC Unknown N/A N/A N/A NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 20.74[78]
2012–2013 Unknown N/A N/A N/A NCIS[b] CBS 21.34[80]
2013–2014 21.42[81] N/A N/A N/A The Big Bang Theory 23.01[81]
2014–2015 20.69[82] N/A N/A N/A NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 20.81[82]
2015–2016 21.30[83] NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 21.38[84] 21.39[85]
2016–2017 19.63[86] 19.73[87] 19.75[88]
2017–2018 17.58[89] Roseanne ABC 18.21[90] Roseanne ABC 19.96[91]
Notes
  1. ^ Households 1950–51 through 1996–97 television seasons; Viewership 1996–97 television season to present.
  2. ^ NBC Sunday Night Football aired three broadcasts before the official start of television season which are not counted in the rankings. If these broadcasts were counted, NBC Sunday Night Football would average 21.44 million viewers—more than NCIS.[79]

Most watched series finales[edit]

The number of viewers for M*A*S*H (105.9 million) and Cheers (84.4 million) are the numbers most commonly reported. M*A*S*H has also been reported at 121.6 million viewers and Cheers has been reported at 93.5 million viewers.[92][93] For M*A*S*H and Cheers, 121.6 million and 93.5 million represent the total audience who watched at least six minutes and the 105.9 million and 84.4 million represent the viewers who watched the average minute.[4] Regular episodes of M*A*S*H were thirty minutes long, but the final episode was a television movie of running length of two hours and thirty minutes, which reached a peak audience of 125 million by the primetime telecast conclusion of the 1983 M*A*S*H series finale.

When TV miniseries are taken into the Nielsen tallies, ABC's Roots posted the second most watched series finale in U.S. history, watched on 30 January 1977, by 100 million viewers (51.1% of American households and more than 71% of the total U.S. television viewers that year), but attracted the largest viewership for any type of primetime television series in U.S. history – a record currently standing at between 130 million and 140 million.[94][95]

The M*A*S*H finale was notorious in that after the episode finished, water flow in New York City increased by 6.7 million gallons, representing about 1 million people using the bathroom. While contributing to the CD-ROM computer game Blast from the Past, in association with TV Land, Loretta Swit commented on the event, stating she thought it was due to the fact viewers stayed glued to the screens for the whole show, and then rushed to the facilities. The 2004 finale of Friends had overtaken the record of Seinfeld in 1998 since in its last 6 minutes were seen by almost 80 million people, but viewership remained at 65.9 million because it was the audience for most of the episode. Part one of the Friends finale had 52.47 million viewers and part 2 had 65.9 million viewers and both parts were broadcast on May 6, 2004 on NBC from 21:00 to 22:06.[96]

Series Viewership
(in millions)
Household rating Share Date Network
M*A*S*H 105.9[4] 60.2%[4] 77%[4] February 28, 1983[4] CBS[4]
Roots 100.0[5] 51.1% 71% Jan 30, 1977 ABC
Cheers 84.4[97] 45.5% 64%[92] May 20, 1993 NBC
The Fugitive 78.0[98] 45.9% 72% Aug 29, 1967 ABC
Seinfeld 76.3[97] 41.3% 58% May 14, 1998 NBC
Friends 52.5[99] 29.8% 43%[100] May 6, 2004 NBC
Magnum, P.I. 50.7 32.0% 48% May 1, 1988 CBS
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 50.0[97] 30.0% 46% May 22, 1992 NBC
The Cosby Show 44.4[97] 28.0% 45% April 30, 1992 NBC
All in the Family 40.2[97][101] 26.6% 43% April 8, 1979 CBS
Family Ties 36.3 20.8% 35% May 14, 1989 NBC
Home Improvement 35.5[102] 21.6%[103] 43%[102] May 25, 1999 ABC
Frasier 33.7[104] 16.3% 25% May 13, 2004 NBC
Dallas 33.3 22.0% 38% May 3, 1991 CBS
Everybody Loves Raymond 32.9[104] 20.2% 29% May 16, 2005 CBS
Star Trek: The Next Generation 31.0[105] 17.4% 34% May 23, 1994 Syndication
Gunsmoke 30.9[101] N/A N/A March 31, 1975 CBS
Happy Days 30.5 20.5% 31% September 24, 1984 ABC
The Golden Girls 27.2 18.9% 38% May 9, 1992 NBC
Full House 24.3 14.6% 25% May 23, 1995 ABC
St. Elsewhere 22.5[101] 17% 29% May 25, 1988 NBC[106]
MacGyver 22.3 13.8% 26% May 21, 1992 ABC
L.A. Law 22.1 15.9% 27% May 19, 1994 NBC
ALF 21.7 13.1% 24% March 24, 1990 NBC
The Mary Tyler Moore Show 21.16 16.5% 28% March 19, 1977 CBS
The Wonder Years 21.0 13.9% 23% May 12, 1993 ABC
Quantum Leap 20.6 13.7% 23% May 5, 1993 NBC
Who's the Boss? 20.5 12.7% 24% April 25, 1992 ABC
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 19.9 13.1% 22% May 20, 1996 NBC
Mad About You 19.8 13.6% 20% May 24, 1999 NBC
Knots Landing 19.6 13.9% 22% May 13, 1993 CBS
Bonanza 19.3[101] ? ? January 16, 1973 NBC
Designing Women 18.8 14.2% 22% May 24, 1993 CBS
Matlock 18.7 13.2% 20% May 7, 1995 ABC
Will & Grace 18.6 12.9% 20% May 18, 2006 NBC
The Facts of Life 18.2 13.2% 29% May 7, 1988 NBC
Jake and the Fatman 18.1 12.9% 20% May 6, 1992 CBS
Major Dad 17.9 12.6% 20% April 16, 1993 CBS
Murphy Brown 17.5 12.3% 19% May 18, 1998 CBS
Beverly Hills, 90210 16.8 11.9% 21% May 17, 2000 Fox
Roseanne 16.6 11.6% 19% May 20, 1997 ABC
Murder, She Wrote 16.5 12.3% 21% May 19, 1996 CBS
The Oprah Winfrey Show 16.404 11.5% N/A May 25, 2011 Syndication
ER 16.4 10.4% 17% April 2, 2009 NBC
NYPD Blue 16.1 10.4% 17% March 1, 2005 ABC
Miami Vice 16.1 11.0% 21% June 28, 1989 NBC
Perfect Strangers 15.8 11.8% 16% August 6, 1993 ABC
Married... with Children 15.2 10.0% 16% May 5, 1997 Fox
In the Heat of the Night 15.0 10.9% 17% May 16, 1995 CBS
Kate & Allie 14.9 11.9% 20% May 22, 1989 CBS
Dynasty 14.7 10.8% 17% May 11, 1989 ABC
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno 14.6 -% -% February 6, 2014 NBC
Monday Night Football 14.4[107] 9.2% 16% December 26, 2005 ABC
Wings 14.2 10.2% 16% May 21, 1997 NBC
JAG 14.0[108] 9.0% 15% April 29, 2005 CBS
Mr. Belvedere 13.8 8.5% 16% July 8, 1990 ABC
The Late Show with David Letterman 13.76 9.3% -% May 20, 2015 CBS
Lost 13.6 7.5% 13% May 23, 2010 ABC
Evening Shade 13.5 9.6% 15% May 23, 1994 CBS
Two and a Half Men 13.5 -% N/A February 19, 2015 CBS
The King of Queens 13.5 8.8% 13% May 14, 2007 CBS
Doogie Howser, M.D. 13.4 9.2% 14% March 24, 1993 ABC
American Idol 13.3[109] 9.6% 15% April 7, 2016 Fox
Providence 13.3 9.0% 16% December 20, 2002 NBC
Life Goes On 13.2 8.9% 17% May 23, 1993 ABC
The X-Files 13.2[110] 7.9% 12% May 19, 2002 Fox
How I Met Your Mother 13.13 8.6% 13% March 31, 2014 CBS
Coach 13.1 9.3% 16% May 14, 1997 ABC
Touched by an Angel 12.9[111] 8.9% 15% April 27, 2003 CBS
Amen 12.9 8.3% 19% May 11, 1991 NBC
Falcon Crest 12.3 9.3% 15% May 17, 1990 CBS
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 12.2 N/A N/A September 27, 2015 CBS
Desperate Housewives 11.9 9.0% 14% May 13, 2012 ABC
3rd Rock from the Sun 11.9 7.9% 13% May 22, 2001 NBC
The Sopranos 11.9 6.5% 11% June 10, 2007 HBO
Empty Nest 11.6 8.7% 17% April 29, 1995 NBC
Ally McBeal 11.5 7.5% 11% May 20, 2002 Fox
Homicide: Life on the Street 11.4 8.4% 15% May 21, 1999 NBC
Without a Trace 11.2 7.3% 12% May 19, 2009 CBS
The Nanny 11.1 8.1% 14% May 12, 1999 CBS
Picket Fences 11.1 8.2% 14% April 24, 1996 CBS
The Practice 10.9 7.5% 13% May 16, 2004 ABC
Walker, Texas Ranger 10.8 6.8% 13% May 19, 2001 CBS
Judging Amy 10.8 7.6% 12% May 3, 2005 CBS
Sex and the City 10.6[112] ? ? February 22, 2004 HBO
Becker 10.6 7.3% 11% January 28, 2004 CBS
The Good Wife 10.6 TBA TBA May 8, 2016 CBS
Grace Under Fire 10.5 7.4% 11% February 17, 1998 ABC
Highway to Heaven 10.5 7.1% 16% August 4, 1989 NBC
Melrose Place 10.4 7.3% 12% May 24, 1999 Fox
Twin Peaks 10.4 N/A N/A June 10, 1991 ABC
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien 10.3 N/A N/A January 22, 2010 NBC
Breaking Bad 10.28 September 29, 2013 AMC
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 10.2 6.7% 15% May 16, 1998 CBS
Sisters 10.1 7.1% 14% May 4, 1996 NBC
The West Wing 10.1 6.2% 10% May 14, 2006 NBC
The Mentalist 10.1 % % February 18, 2015 CBS
That '70s Show 10.0 6.0% 10% May 18, 2006 Fox
Boy Meets World 10.0 6.1% 12% May 5, 2000 ABC
Cold Case 10.0 6.4% 11% May 2, 2010 CBS

Most watched series episode of the decade[edit]

This table lists the most watched overall television episode for every decade in the United States, as tallied by the Nielsen Media Research since the 1950–1951 television season. The audience share category of the Nielsen ratings only began in the 1959–1960 television season, and that all the Nielsen ratings for U.S. telecasts starting 2003 were adjusted from the 2008–09 season to incorporate both the standard live primetime and time-shifted or delayed DVR viewership figures (based on the telecast's final 5-minute standard run) in the United States only (from the dates of their original series finale runs).

Decade Title Episode Viewers
(in millions)
Household
share
Audience
share
Date Network
1950s The Ed Sullivan Show Special guesting of Elvis Presley 60.0 71% 82.6% 9 Sep 1956 CBS
1960s The Fugitive "The Judgment" Part 2 78.0 45.9% 72% 29 Aug 1967 ABC
1970s Roots (miniseries) "Part VIII" 100.0[5] 51.1% 71% 30 Jan 1977 ABC
1980s M*A*S*H "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" 125.0[5] 60.2% 77% 28 Feb 1983 CBS
1990s Cheers "One for the Road" 93.5[97] 51.7% 72%[92] 20 May 1993 NBC
2000s Friends "The Last One" 80.0[113] 40.2% 62% 6 May 2004 NBC
2010s Undercover Boss "Waste Management, Inc" (Series Premiere) 42.3 29.4% 36% 7 Feb 2010 CBS

Longest dominating series of the decade[edit]

This table lists the primetime television series with the most number of seasons of No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings for every decade in the United States, as tallied by the Nielsen Media Research since the 1950–1951 television season. Only the Nielsen household share will be shown in the following table.

The U.S. television program with the longest ever streak at No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings is written in bold text.

Decade Series Peak season
household share
Debut season at
Nielsen No. 1
End season at
Nielsen No. 1
Seasons
at No. 1
Network
1950s I Love Lucy 67.3 (1952–1953) 1952–1953 1956–1957 4 CBS
1960s Gunsmoke 43.1 (1957–1958) 1957–1958 1960–1961
1970s All in the Family 34.0 (1971–1972) 1971–1972 1975–1976 5
1980s The Cosby Show 34.9 (1986–1987) 1985–1986 1989–1990 NBC
1990s 60 Minutes 28.4 (1979–1980) 1979–1980 1993–1994 CBS
2000s American Idol 17.6 (2005–2006) 2003–2004 2010–2011 8 Fox
2010s NBC Sunday Night Football 13.3 (2015–2016) 2011–2012 2016-2017 5 NBC


References[edit]

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  5. ^ a b c d "Finale Of M*A*S*H Draws Record Number Of Viewers". The New York Times. 3 March 1983. 
  6. ^ "ABC Captures Huge First Week Ratings". The Indianapolis Star. September 20, 1978. 
  7. ^ "Fight Viewers Second Only To TV's 'Roots' Series". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 55 (3): 55. October 5, 1978. 
  8. ^ Crupi, Anthony. "Despite Another Ratings Slump, the NFL Remains TV's Top Dog". AdAge. Retrieved 26 January 2018. 
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  10. ^ Porter, Rick (February 9, 2016). "Broadcast weekly Top 25: Super Bowl 50 dominates the week of Feb. 1-7". 
  11. ^ Stelter, Brian (September 27, 2016). "Debate breaks record as most-watched in U.S. history". CNN. 
  12. ^ "U.S. vice presidential debate watched by 37 million on TV". Reuters. October 5, 2016. 
  13. ^ de Moraes, Lisa (October 10, 2016). "Viewership of the second presidential debate dropped by a lot". Deadline Hollywood. 
  14. ^ Associated Press (October 20, 2016). "Final debate is third most-watched presidential match ever". Fox News. 
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