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Volume 20 No. 42
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Sports maintains dominant hold on viewership

NFL games accounted for nine of the top 10 telecasts.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Despite a big drop for NFL regular-season viewership during the calendar year 2017, the league — and sports overall — still dominated the TV landscape.

Among the 100 most-viewed shows on TV in 2017, 81 were sports telecasts, which is down from 88 in 2016. But that decline may largely be due to an Olympic year in 2016, with 15 NBC telecasts from the Rio Olympics cracking the top 100 that year.

Only two scripted TV episodes were in the top 100 in 2016, whereas nine made the list in 2017. Also missing from the top telecasts in 2017 were three presidential debates, which came in at Nos. 2-4 in 2016.

Within the top 10, NFL game windows accounted for nine slots (the Oscars were No. 7). Within the top 100, 64 telecasts were NFL games in 2017, compared to 60 in 2016. Outside of the NFL, six of the Astros-Dodgers World Series games on Fox cracked the top 100, while all five of the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals games on ABC made the list as well.

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship again cracked the list, as did a Final Four game (North Carolina-Oregon) and one regional final (North Carolina-Kentucky). Two college football games made the list in 2017 — the Clemson-Alabama CFP National Championship and USC-Penn State in the Rose Bowl (both on ESPN).

The Kentucky Derby returned to the top 100 after missing the list in 2016. Outside of the Oscars, the other live non-sports telecasts to crack the list in 2017 were the Grammys, “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Golden Globes, an episode of “America’s Got Talent,” the 50th anniversary special for the “Carol Burnett Show” and the red carpet special for the Oscars. Five episodes of “NCIS” made the list, as did two episodes of “The Big Bang Theory.”

First Look podcast, with the Top 100 discussion at the 18:22 mark: