CBS’ “Big Brother” is a reliable bet to be primetime’s highest-rated title whenever a new episode airs. But despite leading the night on Thursday with a healthy 0.76 rating in the advertiser-friendly 18-49 demographic, CBS wasn’t actually the highest-rated network overall.
Instead, Fox managed to net the most impressive average demo rating on the night with a 0.65. It was also the most-watched network overall Thursday with 3.1 million total average viewers.
How did Fox do it? Well, as anyone who follows these daily ratings updates knows, you never bet against live sports in primetime.
Here’s how primetime shook out across the broadcast networks:
As mentioned, Fox was No. 1 in both average demo rating (.65) and total average viewers (3.1 million) Thursday night, according to official live plus same-day Nielsen data. The MLB’s annual “Field of Dreams” game, in which the Chicago Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 and hologram of famed broadcast Harry Caray made an appearance, earned a 0.64 rating in the highly-coveted audience demo while pulling in 3.1 million total viewers. It was followed by Fox’s post-game breakdown, which drew a 0.37 demo rating and 1.7 million total viewers. Fox does not air primetime programming at 10.
CBS was second in the ratings with an average demo score of 0.43 and 2.7 million total average viewers. At 8 pm, a rerun of “Young Sheldon” earned a 0.31 demo rating and 3.0 million total viewers. It was followed by a rerun of “Ghosts” at 8:30 pm (0.32, 2.6 million), the primetime-leading “Big Brother” (0.76, 3.6 million) at 9, and a rerun of “CSI: Vegas” (0.22 , 1.6 million) at 10.
ABC was third in the ratings with a 0.37 average demo score and a health 2.8 million total average viewers. “Press Your Luck” kicked off primetime at 8 with a 0.44 demo score and 3.5 million total viewers. “Generation Gap” followed at 9 with a 0.41 demo score and 2.8 million total viewers, and then “The Con” closed out the night at 10 with a 0.27 demo score and 2.1 million total viewers.
NBC was fourth in the ratings with a 0.20 average rating in the ad-friendly demo and 1.9 million total average viewers. The Peacock relied on its steady stable of “Law & Order” reruns Thursday night. At 8, “Law & Order” started with a .18 demo score and 1.9 million total viewers. “Law & Order: SVU” was up next, garnering a 0.22 demo score and 2.1 million total viewers. And “Law & Order: Organized Crime” wrapped up the night with a 0.21 rating and 1.6 million total viewers.
The CW was fifth in the ratings with a 0.05 average demo score and 332,000 total average viewers. The network aired back-to-back episodes of “Bump,” drawing a 0.06/364,000 total viewers and a 0.04 demo rating/242,000 total viewers to start. At 9, “The Great Chocolate Showdown” cooked up a 0.05 demo rating and 361,000 total viewers. Like Fox, The CW does not air primetime programming at 10.
Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision was first in ratings with an average score of 0.4 and 1.1 million total average viewers. “Mexicana y El Guero” drew a 0.4 demo rating and 1.0 million total viewers at 8. At 9, “La Herencia, Un Legado de Amor” elicited a 0.4 demo rating and 1.2 million total viewers. And at 10, “Nobody’s Woman” took home a 0.3 demo rating and 1.0 million total viewers.
Telemundo was second in the rating with a 0.2 demo rating and 834,000 total viewers for “Top Chef: VIP,” which ran from 7 pm to 9 pm Thursday night.