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The 10 Most Popular Shows of the Season Confirms Your Worst Fears

By / 05.24.12

The network season officially ended last night. The good news? The “American Idol” finale was down 32 percent from last year’s finale, and the show overall was down 29 percent this season. The bad? 21.5 million people still watched it. It wasn’t enough, however, to make “American Idol” the highest rated program of the year. For the first time in many years, they’ve lost the title.

Here are some facts and figures about this network television season: CBS was the most watched network of the year, averaging more than 3 million viewers per week than any other network. CBS also had four of the top ten shows of the year (and the top four scripted shows). Reality competitions were responsible for half of the top 10. Even in the 18-49 demographic, CBS had more scripted shows than any other network: “Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men,” and “2 Broke Girls.” The only other sitcom in the top 10 in the 18-49 demo was “Modern Family.”

There are some positives: “American Idol” was down 6 million viewers a week, while “Dancing with the Stars” was down four million viewers. On the flipside, “Two and a Half Men” was up 16 percent over last year. Criminy.

Here’s the 10 highest rated shows of the year and, for comparison’s sake, the top 10 shows from 2002.

1. “NBC Sunday Night Football” — 20.7 million viewers

2. “American Idol” — 19.7 million viewers

3. “NCIS” — 19.5 million viewers

4. “American Idol” results show — 18 million viewers

5. “Dancing with the Stars” — 18 million viewers

6. “NCIS: Los Angeles” — 16 million viewers

7. “Dancing with the Stars” results show — 16 million viewers

8. “Big Bang Theory” — 15.9 million viewers

9. “The Voice” — 15.8 million viewers

10. “Two and a Half Men” — 15 million viewers

Just for comparison’s sake, here are the top ten shows of the 2002 season.

1. “Friends”

2. “CSI”

3. “ER”

4. “Everybody Loves Raymond”

5. “Law & Order”

6. “Friends” (rerun)

7. “Survivor” Africa”

8. “Survivor: Marquesas

9. “NFL Monday Night Football”

10. “West Wing”


TAGSAMERICAN IDOLDANCING WITH THE STARSNIELSEN RATINGSTOP 10Two And A Half Men

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