A few of the most popular shows bring in millions of viewers each week. Some of them draw viewers in with their all-star cast members, while others capture their audience’s attention with their riveting storylines. Here’s a look at the 15 TV shows with the most viewers each week based on data compiled by Nielsen ratings.
15. ‘American Horror Story’
This horror miniseries may be suffering from dwindling ratings, but the program is still at the top of the list for the most-watched television programs with an average of just under 4 million viewers, which is still pretty decent for the FX network.
14. ‘The Bachelor’
ABC’s long-running series The Bachelor brought in 6.62 million viewers for its January 2017 season premiere, and ratings stayed consistent each week as viewers watched the man of the hour, Nick Viall, fall in love with Vanessa Grimaldi. It’s just too bad their relationship didn’t last, but at least their courtship and the competition made for good TV!
13. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
The medical-inspired drama premiered in March 2005 and since then, it has remained at the top of Nielsen rating charts year after year. In 2017, the Shonda Rhimes series pulled in an impressive 8 million viewers, proving the show is still a hit without the sultriness of Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey.
12. ‘Designated Survivor’
The political drama created by David Guggenheim and starring Kiefer Sutherland has been raking in viewers. The ABC program jumped from 4.03 million viewers to 8.86 million at the end of November 2017, thanks to fans who were enthralled by the suspense of Thomas Kirkman (Sutherland) attempting to uncover the truth behind the explosion that took the lives of the President and his entire line of succession.
11. ‘The Voice’
Since 2011, The Voice has pulled in solid numbers on NBC, and 2017 was no different. The singing competition – in which contestants compete for a $100,000 record deal – averaged 10.8 million viewers in adults ages 18-49.
In 2016, CBS’s Bull became the most-watched television series, and by 2017, it recorded a staggering 14.4 million viewers. The dramatic series, starring Michael Weatherly (Dr. Jason Bull), is based on Dr. Phil McGraw’s early career as a trial consultant. The edgy and sometimes gruesome storylines and psychological mind screws continue to leave viewers in a trance.
9. ‘America’s Got Talent’
Wednesday night’s broadcast of America’s Got Talent continues to reign supreme with 14.6 million viewers. The competition brings together singers, dancers, comedians, and magicians of all ages to compete for the $1 million prize. The show maintains its popularity thanks to its star-studded celebrity judges and the stiff competition between all of the talented performers.
8. ‘The Walking Dead’
Some may say the zombie theme is played out, but the 14.7 million average viewers of AMC’s The Walking Dead would beg to differ. Based on a comic book series of the same name, the program starring Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) uses the plot of a zombie apocalypse to keep viewers consistently entertained.
7. ‘America’s Got Talent’
AGT has made the list once again. This time, it’s the Tuesday night broadcast that’s dominating the Nielsen rating. With 16 million average viewers in total, this show is proof that watching talented amateurs perform is all a network needs to crush the ratings!
6. ‘This is Us’
Primetime TV’s breakout drama This Is Us proved to be a rating’s gold mine when it made its 2016 debut. A year later, the dramatic series – which followed the lives of the Pearson family – had an average of 16.5 million viewers and was crowned the top-rated new series for adults ages 18-49.
There’s a good reason why NCIS is one of the longest-running shows on television: the show has the winning formula of solid writing and acting. 17.7 million average viewers watched the program in 2017 to witness Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and the rest of the gang of special agents solve the most harrowing crimes.
4. ‘Young Sheldon’
Sometimes, spinoff series turn out to be big flops. Other times, they hit a home run in terms of viewership. CBS had high hopes for The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper (Iain Armitage) and his spinoff show, Young Sheldon. Thankfully, fans agreed that the program – which follows Sheldon as he attends high school in an East Texas city – was worthy of being one of the most-watched television shows with 17.7 million average viewers.
3. ‘The Good Doctor’
The Good Doctor received the greenlight for a second season after its 2017 debut drew in 17.9 million average viewers. At this point, it’s pretty obvious that viewers are absolutely obsessed with Freddie Highmore (Shaun Murphy) and his portrayal of a young, savant surgeon with autism.
2. The Big Bang Theory
CBS has made the list again with The Big Bang Theory coming in at the no. 2 spot. The characters of quirky, nerdy friends who bond over their deep love for all things geeky averaged 18.5 million viewers in 2017. Who knew science could be so fun and entertaining?
1. Sunday Night Football
The no. 1 spot isn’t a drama or comedy show. Instead, it’s none other than Sunday Night Football! The National Anthem protests and threats from disgruntled fans who promised to boycott one of America’s favorite pastimes may have created a dip in ratings, but the NBC weekly broadcast still managed to round out our list with 18.5 million average viewers. All hail the pigskin!
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