America's Most Watched: The Top 50 Shows of the 2013-2014 TV Season

Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki | Photo Credits: Darren Michaels/Warner Bros.

Bazinga! The Big Bang Theory narrowly beat out NCIS to be named this past season's most-watched series in all of television. With final season averages that include "live plus 7" time-shifted viewing data now available, Bang averaged 23.1 million viewers for the season ending May 24, while NCIS averaged 22.4 million.

Both shows were ahead of NBC's Sunday Night Football and AMC's The Walking Dead in total viewers — once again giving CBS the year's most-watched comedy and drama series.

But when it comes to adults 18-49, The Walking Dead annihilates everything. Dead's most recent season averaged 12.2 million viewers in the demo, compared to second-place Sunday Night Football's 10.2 million.

Among new series, NBC's The Blacklist was the most-watched, with 16.9 million viewers (good enough to land in the top 5). ABC's Resurrection (13.0 million) also made it into the Top 20. Fox's Sleepy Hollow was No.1 with adults 18-49. On the flip side, CBS' The Crazy Ones was canceled after one season, despite doing better (10.5 million) than many new and returning shows.

Here's reason for TV executives to cheer: Most of the year's top shows saw a healthy rise in viewership vs. last year. With seven days' worth of DVR usage included in their season averages, here are the 50 most-watched shows — encompassing both broadcast and cable — of the 2013-14 TV season.

1. The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 23.1 million

2. NCIS (CBS) 22.4 million

3. Sunday Night Football (NBC) 21.7 million

4. The Walking Dead (AMC) 18.3 million

5. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) 17.9 million

6. The Blacklist (NBC) 16.9 million

7. Person of Interest (CBS) 16.2 million

8. Dancing With the Stars (ABC) 15.5 million

9. Blue Bloods (CBS) 15.2 million

10. The Voice (Monday) (NBC) 14.7 million

11. Criminal Minds (CBS) 14.4 million

12. Castle (ABC) 14.3 million

13. Modern Family (ABC) 14.1 million

14. The Voice (Tuesday) (NBC) 14.0 million

15. Monday Night Football (ESPN) 13.7 million

16. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS) 13.4 million

tie, Elementary (CBS) 13.4 million

18. Downton Abbey (PBS) 13.2 million

19. Scandal (ABC) 13.0 million

tie, Resurrection (ABC) 13.0 million

21. Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) 12.9 million

22. Grey's Anatomy (ABC) 12.4 million

23. The Mentalist (CBS) 12.3 million

24. The Millers (CBS) 12.2 million

tie, 60 Minutes (CBS) 12.2 million

26. American Idol (Wednesday) (Fox) 12.1 million

27. The Good Wife (CBS) 11.9 million

28. American Idol (Thursday) (Fox) 11.5 million

tie, Sleepy Hollow (Fox) 11.5 million

30. Survivor (CBS) 11.4 million

tie, Two and a Half Men (CBS) 11.4 million

32. How I Met Your Mother (CBS) 11.3 million

33. Duck Dynasty (A&E) 11.1 million

34. Chicago Fire (NBC) 10.7 million

35. The Crazy Ones (CBS) 10.5 million

36. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC) 10.4 million

37. Mike & Molly (CBS) 10.2 million

tie, Intelligence (CBS) 10.2 million

39. 2 Broke Girls (CBS) 10.0 million

40. Once Upon a Time (ABC) 9.6 million

tie, The Bachelor (ABC) 9.6 million

tie, The Amazing Race (CBS) 9.6 million

tie, 24: Live Another Day (Fox) 9.6 million

44. Unforgettable (CBS) 9.3 million

tie, Bones (Friday) (Fox) 9.3 million

46. Mom (CBS) 9.2 million

tie, Chicago PD (NBC) 9.2 million

tie, The Middle (ABC) 9.2 million

49. Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 9.1 million

tie, Undercover Boss (CBS) 9.1 million

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I wonder how much talk the CBS suits have had about doing a Big Bang spin off?
Drama show spin offs are everywhere but the sitcom version is all but gone.

PS
The death of the sitcom spin off might make a interesting article for one of the writers here.

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Boy, am I smart. I don't watch any of these.
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2 shows I'm confused about Game of thrones and to a lesser extent Teen wolf!
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that aren't included i should have said
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With the notable exceptions of Community and Parks and Recreation, almost all the shows I watched this past season are on this list. Cory Barker could do a thousand word article on the differences between this list and the list of shows regularly reviewed by TV.com staff.
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If this list encompasses "both broadcast and cable", then where is HBO's Game of Thrones??
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That is 'cable' as in 'basic cable' (IE: FX, History Channel, A&E, AMC, etc), not 'pay cable' (IE: HBO, Showtime Skinemax, etc.). Broadcast means truly over the air with an antenna.
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Oh I see, thanks; I wasn't aware of that distinction.
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I don't watch a single show from this list.
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Big Bang Theory is really awesome
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No show from the CW? I don't believe this
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I really dont understand how tv ratings are measured. i thought with a population of 250 million ( ?? correct me if I am wrong ) and especially now counting the +7 figures surely the average veiwers per show should be at least doubled. might be time for the USA as well as Australia increased the neilsen viewers households. i think the sampling per population may still be too small. yes i do note that there is 100s of stations in the USA all up between states and such but the numbers still look small per the population in USA.
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Wow. I never realized how much my taste differs from the rest of the country. I watch ONE show on this list.
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All i've learned from this list is that America watches really shitty TV.
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Elitist TV snob. :-)
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Don't ask me why, but I get a perverse sense of pleasure seeing Person of Interest doing better than Agents of SHIELD in the ratings.
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A better show getting better ratings.
Unusual, certainly, but why perverse?
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I know its not a straight comparison, but POI has the comic book superhero sensibility down pat. But its ratings over three seasons hadn't been that fantastic, and I find it galling. Along comes SHIELD - with its comic book superhero pedigree behind it - which just swoops in with massive initial ratings. However, SHIELD hasn't really lived up to its potential, despite a good handful of episodes near the end of the season. I'm just glad there are a lot of people out there who recognise the quality that is POI!

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There's one thing though you have to take into consideration for Shield, even though i think POI is still better. It was going against #2 show on this list and that probably why they moved it next season to 9pm instead of 8.
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Fair enough - NCIS is a live ratings juggernaut. But the data here took into account "Live+7", so SHIELD didn't pick up that many dvr viewings either. Still, 10.4m viewers is not a figure to be sneezed at, and yes, based on the new slot, and the increase in quality at the end of season 1, they will probably do better for season 2.

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Pay cable, like HBO, is on a different scale than basic cable like FX, AMC, etc. That is why GOT is not included. Different measurments.
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"HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa"
oh i forgot to say..
"HA"
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So a bunch of cop/doctor/singer crap, eh? Not a single decent show? No wonder they close all good shows like Awake of Firefly.
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Just hope this not lead The Big Bang theory into further complacency, even the its most anal fans would admit series 7 has been the most uneven in quality. Maybe Chuck Lorre took his eye off the ball with Mom to deal with as well. Pleased Person Of Interest did so well despite killing off a major character.
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  • Scary ratings...dude!
  • ------My Ranking-------
  • None = F* Awesome
  • * = Looking Real Good
  • ** = Meh..
  • *** = Honorable Mention
  • -Fargo
  • -True Detectives
  • -Game of Thrones
  • -House of Cards
  • -Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
  • -Orphan Black
  • -The Good Wife
  • -Parks and Recreation
  • -Mad Men
  • -Hannibal
  • -Da Vinci's Demons
  • -Shameless
  • -Broad City
  • -Banshee
  • -Orange is the New Black
  • -Person of Interest
  • -Louie
  • -Getting On
  • -Black Sails
  • -Sleepy Hollow
  • -Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • -Continuum
  • -Enlisted
  • -Nurse Jackie
  • -Californication
  • -Silicon Valley
  • -Teen Wolf
  • -Vikings
  • -The Americans
  • -Awkward
  • -Workaholics
  • -Masters of Sex
  • -AHS: Coven
  • -Looking
  • -Arrow
  • -Veep
  • -Portlandia
  • -The Mindy Project
  • -Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • -South Park
  • -Archer
  • -24*
  • -In the Flesh*
  • -The Spoils of Babylon*
  • -Turn*
  • -Faking It*
  • -Through the Wormhole*
  • -Derek*
  • -Penny Dreadfull*
  • -The Wil Wheaton Project*
  • **-Helix
  • **-The 100
  • **-Revenge
  • ** The Originals
  • **-Cougar Town
  • **-Reign
  • **-Scandal
  • **-Grey's Anatomy
  • -Downton Abbey***
  • -New Girl***
  • -House of Lies***
  • -Episodes***
  • -Suburgatory***
  • -From Dusk Till Dawn***
  • -Community***
  • -The Bridge***
  • -Sons of Anarchy***
  • -The Carrie Diaries***
  • -Nikita***
  • -Ray Donovan***
  • -The Vampire Diaries***
  • -The Big Bang Theory***
  • -HIMYM***
  • ***** CAN'T WAIT FOR ***** NEW SHOWS & COMEBACKS
  • -Wilfred
  • -The Walking Dead
  • -The Comeback
  • -Togetherness
  • -Tyrant
  • -Defiance
  • -Rectify
  • -Manhattan
  • -It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • -The Strain
  • -The Leftovers
  • -Extant
  • -Falling Skies
  • -Graceland
  • -Homeland
  • -Galavant
:)
More+
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If you count the rest of the world and the internet
you see that Game Of Thrones is the most watched program
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what about The CW shows?
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Surprising how many of the shows that are in the top 50 got cancled while other shows with less viewers stayed
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WTF!!!Duck Dynasty gets 11 million viewers!!????



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My thoughts exactly.
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Cool!Walking Dead comes in at #4.Next year,let's go for #1!!(wow,I only have 5 series I watch in the top 50,Big Bang Theory,Walking Dead,Castle,Shield and 2 Broke Girls).Plus Big Bang Theory needs to drop in the ratings in order to panic the writers/producers into writing funny episodes again like at the start of the series and stop being a 'Friends' ripoff,which it's become lately.As long as it's #1,they will continue to slack off and write this series in their sleep.It's time they wake up!!


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These numbers seem to mostly support my theory that since CBS and most of its local affiliates air Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune during the 7-8pm hour, a large majority of people fall asleep around this time with their TVs on and tuned to CBS, thus skewing their numbers. Since it is unlikely they could tally the viewership of local news programming at 11pm on CBS, we'll never really have a good chart showing the likelihood of this scenario versus the less likely possibility that this many people intentionally watch CBS this much.
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CBS does really well in total viewers, it's shows skew old.
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That's a large reason I find it especially odd that TBBT gets such high viewer ratings when so much of their viewership seems to be a bit older.
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i like my theory better--that your theiry is incrdidibly incorrect.
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That is a very likely possibility as well. The fact that they consistently run tons of procedurals that require very little backstory that allows you to jump on and off at different points without needing to watch up on recent episodes makes them especially appealing; even more so when you consider how many of the other networks are showcasing garbage reality programs, musical popularity contests, or skewed investigative journalism stories.
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Happy to see Person of Interest doing so well. It would be the best network drama if Hannibal was on cable.
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Same I love that damn show.
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Yay for Person of Interest. Well deserved. Really great show.
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POI should be no.1
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Intelligence ties for 37 and gets cancelled..
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It's sad that with the wealth of good to excellent television available that this awful list is what is most viewed.When Duck Dynasty is thirty-third on the list something is very wrong.
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Big Bang, the most dis improved show on the planet. It went from been funny and fresh to a nerdy version of friends. Once I ran to watch it, now I flee from it!
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I watch 20 of those (counting American Football as 1 - I watch a highlights show in the UK) and I dropped 5 of them over the last year.

I thought that True Detective would have been up there, or am I not understanding what I'm reading?

Anyway, I agree with almost everyone else... The Crazy Ones cancelled whilst The Millers and Mom renewed, WTF? (For the record I don't have anything against Mom in particular, I just think The Crazy Ones was much better show.) Also notice no The Goldbergs!
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True Detective averaged around 2.3 million in live views, nowhere near as muchas these shows. But, it is on HBO and they don't care about ratings (most of the time).
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Numbers for the shows on this list are "averages that include Live+7 time-shifted viewing data now available" and True Detective was averaging 11 millions in total, it's not on the list because it's premium cable I guess (Game of Thrones is averaging 18,4 million this year)
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Since we are counting, I only watched 11 of them. I am not watching all NCIS and singing shows.

I watched 6 seasons of criminal minds and could not take it anymore.
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I loved Criminal Minds, and watched up until half way thru this most recent season. I loved the main characters, but just couldn't take anymore serial killers. It got to be too much.
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Looks like serialized shows still lost to procedural. Looks like cop shows still at the top! As long as that happens, networks are still going to come out with boring procedural cop shows.

So glad TGW is there along with Survivor ! I do not consider TGW procedural. There are procedural elements but its more serialized than most.

Looks like Die another day doing well too and we might get another season next summer.
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The Millers is there??? Why did they cancel "the crazy ones"?
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It's interesting to see that Game of Thrones does better than the Walking Dead in average viewing, and is therefor 4th ! ( http://www.tv.com/shows/game-of-thrones/community/post/game-of-thrones-hbo-most-watched-show-140199794831/ )
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Is there a reason it's not on this list???
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I guess Premium Cable is not on the same rating board.
True Detective was averaging 11 millions, so should be on there too.
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It is nice to see that Person of Interest is getting the viewers that it deserves.
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Dreadful 18/49 demo however. I remember constantly being beaten by Chicago Fire in that very important category. A lot of old folks like CBS:))
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I will take the old folks watching CBS if it keeps POI coming. But I think the runners and writers of the show already have their ending in mind I see two maybe three more seasons and they're done.
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I sure hope so. I love the show and I wouldn't want it transformed into a never ending saga like NCIS or CSI.
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CBS has 24 shows on this list...
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i watch 23 of those shows
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I watch 12 shows on this list, and dropped 5 more off my watch list last season.
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Wow, I watch 2. Reluctantly. No, I'm done with OUaT now, so just one show.
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JT_Kirk doesn't have HBO.
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Good to see PBS in the top 20. Hard to believe CBS canceled The Crazy Ones with a performance in this list.
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How the hell did Big Bang get the most viewers.
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I watch 7 series on the list. What does that mean??
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Heh, I watch 3 and none of them is in the first half.
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Rather surprised Blue Bloods is doing so well :), but tbh, it is a rather stable and decent show!
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I'm surprised that Arrow isn't on the list *shrugs* Oh well.
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You're surprised the CW doesn't get almost 10 million viewers?
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I wasn't vouching for the network. I just figured that if one show on there could pull in viewers it would be that one.
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I know that POI is a great show but i thought that it isn't so popular.
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Looking at the big numbers, there are a few surprises to me: I didn't know that Resurrection did that well, and I'm also surprised that Hawaii Five-0 did that well in the Friday timeslot.
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"The Crazy Ones" beat "Mom" in viewers and yet "Mom" got renewed while TCO got CANCELED? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE???
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Including Robin Williams' probable outtakes, The Crazy Ones was probably twice as expensive to make.
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Whenever the camera was on Robin Williams I assumed it was an outtake.
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Oh, snap! (Let's not turn this into a dissfest, I love Robin Wiliams)
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I've no doubt he's a good actor, I'm just not a fan of his stand up comedy.
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The cancellation decision always comes down to so many other things. Like @mateo2 said, costs are a major variable. The Crazy Ones is a single camera set-up which is a lot more expensive than a multi-camera sitcom like Mom. The bigger names in TCO were also more expensive than the ones in Mom. Even if TCO brought in more revenue, it was surely eaten up by the expenses in such a way that the profit that was left might very well have been less than what Mom managed to make. Networks also have to take into account things like the potential a show has for selling abroad and what it does to the image of the network. For example, The CW renewed Beauty and the Beast despite it having insanely low ratings, and the network president said they did it because the show had resulted in "strong international sales for CBS".
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Easy to explain:
- "The Crazy Ones" was more expensive.
- "Mom" is from the same guy who produces No. 1.
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