The 20 highest-rated shows of 2016: America’s Got Talent Wins Reality

AMERICAN IDOL: Trent Harmon is the American Idol during the AMERICAN IDOL Finale airing Thursday, April 7 (8:00-10:06 PM ET Live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

From a list compiled by TVByTheNumbers: The 20 highest-rated and most-watched shows (excluding live sports) for the calendar year 2016–which means parts of two TV seasons for most shows.

The Top 10 in the 18-49 demo consist solely of scripted fare. And look at that–the first reality show to appear on both the ratings and viewers lists is Simon Cowell’s summertime hit America’s Got Talent.  The show ranks at #11 in the 18-49 demo and #8 in overall viewers. The Voice doesn’t appear until #12 and #15 respectively. Additionally, The Voice and American Idol (Wednesday) TIE at #15 in the 18-49 demo rankings. Dancing with the Stars ranks at #13 on the overall viewers list.

Empire ranks #3 in the 18-49 demo. However, the show experienced a ratings drop off in season 3 and was eventually surpassed by NBC freshman hit, This is Us (which regularly outpaces The Voice on Tuesdays).  The cable drama The Walking Dead sits at #1, despite declining ratings in season 7.

All the averages below (with a couple of exceptions, noted with asterisks) include live viewing plus seven days of DVR and on-demand playback, and are for original telecasts only. FYI: We typically report ratings based on night of live viewing. Scripted shows generally receive a bigger bump in delayed viewing that competition shows that air live. 

Adults 18-49

Rank – Show – Network – # of episodes – 18-49 rating – 18-49 viewers (millions)
1.  The Walking Dead AMC 16 8.8 11.27
2.  The Big Bang Theory* CBS 24 5.5 6.99
3.  Empire FOX 17 5.3 6.79
     Game of Thrones HBO 10 5.3 6.73
5.  The X-Files FOX 6 4.8 6.09
6.  This Is Us NBC 10 4.6 5.86
7.  Modern Family ABC 22 4.2 5.33
8.  Grey’s Anatomy ABC 24 3.7 4.68
9.  American Horror Story: Roanoke FX 10 3.4 4.37
      Designated Survivor ABC 10 3.4 4.27
11. America’s Got Talent – Tuesday NBC 14 3.2 4.07
12. Fear the Walking Dead AMC 15 3.1 3.94
      The Voice – Monday NBC 26 3.1 3.93
      The People v. O.J. Simpson FX 10 3.1 3.93
      American Idol – Wednesday FOX 9 3.1 3.87
16. The Voice – Tuesday NBC 22 3.0 3.82
      The Bachelor ABC 10 3.0 3.83
       Scandal ABC 12 3.0 3.83
       NCIS CBS 23 3.0 3.80
20. Criminal Minds CBS 20 2.9 3.68

*The average for “The Big Bang Theory” includes Live +3 ratings for the Dec. 15 episode.

Total Viewers

Rank – Show – Network – # of episodes – Viewers (millions)
1.   The Big Bang Theory* CBS 24 19.94
2.   NCIS CBS 23 19.65
3.   The Walking Dead AMC 16 17.89
4.   Bull CBS 9 16.69
5.   NCIS: New Orleans CBS 22 15.17
6.   This Is Us NBC 10 14.63
7.   Blue Bloods CBS 22 14.43
8.   America’s Got Talent – Tuesday NBC 14 14.20
9.   The X-Files FOX 6 13.60
10. Empire FOX 17 13.48
11.  Designated Survivor ABC 10 13.46
       America’s Got Talent – Wednesday NBC 8 13.46
13.  Dancing With the Stars ABC 21 13.07
14.  Little Big Shots NBC 8 13.05
15.  The Voice – Tuesday NBC 21 12.77
16.  NCIS: Los Angeles* CBS 23 12.77
17.  The Voice – Monday NBC 25 12.76
18.  Criminal Minds CBS 20 12.35
19.  Hawaii Five-0* CBS 25 11.97
20.  Madam Secretary* CBS 22 11.93

*Averages for “The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Hawaii Five-0” and “Madam Secretary” include Live +3 ratings for episodes that aired the week of Dec. 12.

About mj santilli 33179 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!