The 200 Most-Watched Live Events of 2013

If, as I’ve suggested, the only purpose of linear television going forward will be to show live events that many people want to watch at the same time, then ratings for live events become a particularly important category to look at, because they form the underpinning of everything else. So here are the 200 most-viewed live programs of 2013 to my knowledge, with the top 50 ranked.

Breaking news outside of primetime (which basically means outside the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bomber), and other non-primetime news events such as the funeral for Nelson Mandela, are not counted because I couldn’t find any numbers for them. I’ve also guesstimated where to put the Tournament of Roses Parade and one NFL window because viewers (or at least, reliable viewer numbers) weren’t reported for them. I also assumed all non-audition episodes of American Idol were live, but marked the Hollywood and Vegas episodes with question marks. Events in red are news events; in blue are NFL games; in green are other sports events; in orange are awards shows; in purple are reality shows; and all other events are white.

Vwr (mil) HH 18-49 Time Net

1

Super Bowl XLVII:
Ravens v. 49ers

108.693

46.4

39.7

2/3 6:32 PM

CBS

2

AFC Championship Game:
Ravens @ Patriots

47.707

25.5

16.8

1/20 6:45 PM

CBS

3

NFC Championship Game:
49ers @ Falcons

41.974

24.2

 

1/20 3:00 PM

FOX

4

Boston Marathon Manhunt Conclusion
(estimated minimum)

41.51

   

4/19 8:00 PM

 

5

85th Academy Awards

40.376

24.5

13.0

2/24 8:30 PM

ABC

6

NFC Wild Card Game:
Seahawks @ Redskins

38.088

21.5

13.4

1/6 4:30 PM

FOX

7

AFC Divisional Game:
Texans @ Patriots

37.657

21.7

12.8

1/13 4:30 PM

CBS

8

AFC Divisional Game:
Broncos @ Ravens

35.274

20.1

 

1/12 4:30 PM

CBS

9

State of the Union Address

33.498

21.8

 

2/12 9:00 PM

 

10

NFC Divisional Game:
Seahawks @ Falcons

32.1

19.3

 

1/13 1:00 PM

FOX

11

NFL: Raiders @ Cowboys

31.663

14.3

10.0

11/28 4:30 PM

CBS

12

NFC Divisional Game:
Packers @ 49ers

30.89

16.9

 

1/12 8:00 PM

FOX

13

NFC Wild Card Game:
Vikings @ Packers

30.28

17.3

10.5

1/5 8:00 PM

NBC

14

AFC Wild Card Game:
Colts @ Ravens

29.6

18.1

 

1/6 1:00 PM

CBS

15

NFL: Packers @ 49ers
or Cardinals @ Rams

28.48

16.6

10.6

9/8 4:25 PM

FOX

16

55th Grammy Awards

28.37

 

10.1

2/10 8:00 PM

CBS

17

NFL: Packers @ Lions

28.34

13.4

 

11/28 12:30 PM

FOX

18

NFL: Broncos @ Cowboys

28.323

16.6

9.9

10/6 4:25 PM

CBS

19

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Broncos @ Chiefs)

28.106

16.7

8.6

12/1 4:25 PM

CBS

20

NFL: Cowboys @ Giants

27.941

16.4

9.0

11/24 4:25 PM

FOX

21

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Packers @ Cowboys)

27.768

16.3

8.8

12/15 4:25 PM

FOX

22

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Seahawks @ 49ers)

27.647

16.2

9.1

12/8 4:25 PM

FOX

23

Sunday Night Football:
Eagles @ Cowboys

27.363

15.5

9.3

12/29 8:30 PM

NBC

24

Sunday Night Football:
Chiefs @ Broncos

26.947

15.5

9.9

11/17 8:30 PM

NBC

25

Sunday Night Football:
Broncos @ Colts

26.943

15.9

10.0

10/20 8:30 PM

NBC

26

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: 49ers @ Saints)

26.94

15.5

8.8

11/17 4:25 PM

FOX

27

NFL: Saints @ Patriots
or Cardinals @ 49ers

26.736

15.8

9.2

10/13 4:25 PM

FOX

28

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Eagles @ Broncos)

26.67

16.1

9.3

9/29 4:25 PM

FOX

29

Sunday Night Football:
Broncos @ Patriots

26.483

15.6

9.8

11/24 8:30 PM

NBC

30

NFL: Broncos @ Giants
or Jaguars @ Raiders

26.42

15.8

9.1

9/15 4:25 PM

CBS

31

BCS Championship Game:
Alabama v. Notre Dame

26.38

15.1

9.2

1/7 8:25 PM

ESPN

32

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Packers @ Bears)

26.35

14.6

8.0

12/29 4:25 PM

FOX

33

NBA Finals: Spurs @ Heat, Game 7

26.319

15.3

10.6

6/20 9:00 PM

ABC

34

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Colts @ 49ers)

25.55

15.4

9.0

9/22 4:25 PM

CBS

35

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Redskins @ Broncos)

25.499

15.3

8.9

10/27 4:25 PM

FOX

36

Sunday Night Football:
Giants @ Cowboys

25.398

15.0

10.0

9/8 8:20 PM

NBC

37

NFL: Regional coverage
(main games: HOU/KC and BAL/PIT)

25.319

14.8

8.6

10/20 4:25 PM

CBS

38

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day
Parade

25.2

6.6

11/28 9:00 AM

NBC

39

NFL Kickoff Game:
Ravens @ Broncos

25.133

14.9

10.3

9/5 9:08 PM

NBC

40

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Patriots @ Ravens)

24.199

14.2

7.1

12/22 1:00 PM

CBS

41

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Broncos @ Chargers)

24.069

14.3

7.8

11/10 4:25 PM

CBS

42

NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Steelers @ Patriots)

23.987

14.3

7.7

11/3 4:25 PM

CBS

43

AFC Wild Card Game:
Bengals @ Texans

23.6

14.4

 

1/5 4:30 PM

NBC

44

NCAA Basketball Championship Game:
Louisville v. Michigan

23.43

14.0

8.4

4/8 9:30 PM

CBS

45

Dick Clark’s New Year’s
Rockin’ Eve

22.8

7.1

12/31 11:30 PM

ABC

46

Sunday Night Football:
Cowboys @ Redskins

22.074

12.7

8.4

10/13 8:20 PM

NBC

47

NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

21.91

13.0

 

12/22 4:25 PM

FOX

48

NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

21.88

12.8

 

9/15 1:00 PM

FOX

49

Sunday Night Football:
Cowboys @ Saints

21.09

12.3

7.9

11/10 8:25 PM

NBC

50

NFL: Steelers @ Ravens

21.073

11.0

6.9

11/28 8:30 PM

NBC
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

20.9

12.5

 

9/22 1:00 PM

FOX
  NBA Finals: Spurs @ Heat, Game 6

20.636

12.3

8.5

6/18 9:00 PM

ABC
  Presidential Inauguration

20.552

14.0

 

1/21 10:30 AM

 
  Sunday Night Football:
49ers @ Seahawks

20.543

12.2

8.4

9/15 8:30 PM

NBC
  Sunday Night Football:
Bears @ Steelers

20.51

12.2

7.7

9/22 8:30 PM

NBC
  Sunday Night Football:
Patriots @ Falcons

20.493

12.5

7.6

9/29 8:30 PM

NBC
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

20.3

12.2

 

11/10 1:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

20.235

12.0

 

12/8 1:00 PM

CBS
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

20.1

11.9

 

11/3 1:00 PM

FOX
  70th Golden Globe Awards

19.69

 

6.4

1/13 8:00 PM

NBC
Tournament of Roses Parade

13.4

  Sunday Night Football:
Panthers @ Saints

19.605

11.3

6.9

12/8 8:30 PM

NBC
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

19.6

11.7

 

10/6 1:00 PM

FOX
  World Series, Game 6:
Cardinals @ Red Sox

19.178

11.3

5.7

10/30 8:00 PM

FOX
The Sound of Music Live

18.624

4.6

12/5 8:00 PM

NBC
  Sunday Night Football: Bears @ Eagles

18.278

11.0

6.2

12/22 8:30 PM

NBC
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

18.2

10.8

 

10/20 1:00 PM

FOX
  Monday Night Football:
Eagles @ Redskins

18.161

11.1

6.6

9/9 6:58 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  65th Primetime Emmy Awards

17.76

 

4.9

9/22 8:00 PM

CBS
  Sunday Night Football:
Giants @ Redskins

17.748

10.8

6.2

12/1 8:30 PM

NBC
  Monday Night Football:
Bears @ Packers

17.69

9.1

6.1

11/4 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  Sunday Night Football:
Texans @ 49ers

17.686

10.4

7.0

10/6 8:20 PM

NBC
  NFL: Regional coverage

17.649

10.4

 

12/29 1:00 PM

CBS
Non-Dick Clark New Year’s Eve
programming

17.6

12/31 11:30 PM

  Monday Night Football:
Cowboys @ Bears

17.573

11.0

5.7

12/9 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  NCAA Tournament, Final Four:
Syracuse v. Michigan

17.104

10.2

 

4/6 8:49 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 1 Performances

17.06

10.7

3.2

3/18 8:00 PM

ABC
  Monday Night Football:
Patriots @ Panthers

17.042

10.6

5.8

11/18 8:25 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  Sunday Night Football:
Colts @ Texans

17.04

10.4

6.3

11/3 8:25 PM

NBC
  Rose Bowl:
Stanford v. Wisconsin

17.024

9.4

4.7

1/1 5:08 PM

ESPN
  Sunday Night Football:
Packers @ Vikings

16.893

9.8

6.3

10/27 8:30 PM

NBC
  Monday Night Football:
Saints @ Seahawks

16.865

10.4

5.4

12/2 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

16.8

10.2

 

11/24 1:00 PM

CBS
  47th CMA Awards

16.762

 

4.7

11/6 8:00 PM

ABC
  NASCAR: Daytona 500

16.651

9.9

 

2/24 1:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage

16.535

10.3

 

12/15 1:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)  

9.9

 

10/13 1:00 PM

CBS
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

16.5

9.9

 

12/1 1:00 PM

FOX
  Sunday Night Football:
Bengals @ Steelers

16.433

9.9

5.6

12/15 8:30 PM

NBC
  NFL: Regional coverage

16.432

10.0

 

12/8 1:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage

16.4

9.8

 

10/13 1:00 PM

FOX
  NBA Finals: Heat @ Spurs, Game 5

16.267

9.5

6.3

6/16 8:00 PM

ABC
  NBA Finals: Heat @ Spurs, Game 4

16.228

10.0

6.7

6/13 9:00 PM

ABC
  Kentucky Derby

16.2

9.7

 

5/4 6:05 PM

NBC
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

16.073

9.7

 

12/15 1:00 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 1

16.04

10.4

3.1

9/16 8:00 PM

ABC
  World Series, Game 4:
Red Sox @ Cardinals

15.975

9.4

4.6

10/27 8:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage

15.8

9.9

 

12/1 1:00 PM

CBS
  NCAA Tournament Elite Eight:
Duke v. Louisville

15.65

8.8

4.9

3/31 5:00 PM

CBS
  The Voice 4: Finale

15.59

 

4.4

6/18 9:00 PM

NBC
  48th ACM Awards

15.5

 

4.3

4/7 8:00 PM

CBS
  NFL: Regional coverage

15.5

9.5

 

9/8 1:00 PM

CBS
  NFL: Regional coverage

15.5

9.7

 

10/27 1:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage

15.3

9.4

 

9/29 1:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage

15.3

9.2

 

11/17 1:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

15.207

9.3

 

10/27 1:00 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Season Finale

15.2

9.7

2.7

5/21 9:00 PM

ABC
  NFL: Regional coverage

15.1

9.3

 

12/22 1:00 PM

CBS
  Monday Night Football:
Steelers @ Bengals

15.073

9.5

5.9

9/16 8:27 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  NFL: Regional coverage

15

8.8

 

12/29 1:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 10 Performances

14.97

9.5

2.6

5/20 8:00 PM

ABC
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

14.829

8.9

 

11/17 1:00 PM

CBS
  NFL: Regional coverage

14.8

8.9

 

11/24 1:00 PM

FOX
  Monday Night Football:
Raiders @ Broncos

14.775

9.4

5.6

9/23 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  Dancing with the Stars 17:
The Finals Part 2

14.752

9.2

2.4

11/26 9:00 PM

ABC
  The Masters: Final Round

14.72

9.4

3.6

4/14 2:00 PM

CBS
  NFL: Regional coverage
(main game: Bills @ Patriots?)

14.65

8.5

4.3

12/29 4:25 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 17:
The Finals Part 1

14.612

9.2

2.2

11/25 8:00 PM

ABC
  NFL: Regional coverage

14.6

9.0

 

9/8 1:00 PM

FOX
  NBA Finals: Spurs @ Heat, Game 2

14.571

8.5

5.8

6/9 8:00 PM

ABC
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 2 Performances

14.47

9.0

2.4

3/25 8:00 PM

ABC
  NCAA Tournament, Final Four:
Wichita State v. Louisville

14.468

8.7

 

4/6 6:00 PM

CBS
  World Series, Game 5:
Red Sox @ Cardinals

14.446

8.9

4.1

10/28 8:00 PM

FOX
  World Series, Game 1:
Cardinals @ Red Sox

14.4

8.6

4.3

10/23 8:00 PM

FOX
  Monday Night Football:
Vikings @ Giants

14.383

9.1

4.9

10/21 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  American Idol 12?: Vegas Round 1

14.37

8.5

4.1

2/20 8:00 PM

FOX
  SEC Championship Game:
Auburn v. Missouri

14.354

8.6

 

12/7 4:00 PM

CBS
  American Idol 12: And the Winner Is…

14.31

8.3

3.6

5/16 8:00 PM

FOX
  American Idol 12?: Hollywood Round 1

14.27

8.4

4.6

2/6 8:00 PM

FOX
  NBA Finals: Spurs @ Heat, Game 1

14.241

8.8

5.7

6/6 9:00 PM

ABC
  Monday Night Football: Falcons @ 49ers

14.241

8.5

4.5

12/23 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  Monday Night Football:
Dolphins @ Saints

14.205

8.8

5.6

9/30 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  Monday Night Football: Ravens @ Lions

14.164

9.0

4.8

12/16 8:30 PM

ESPN
  NBA Finals: Heat @ Spurs, Game 3

14.045

8.5

5.8

6/11 9:00 PM

ABC
  The Voice 5: The Finale Results

14.01

 

4.0

12/17 9:00 PM

NBC
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 3 Results

13.98

8.8

2.3

4/2 9:00 PM

ABC
  NFL: Regional coverage

13.93

8.7

 

10/20 1:00 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 3 Performances

13.91

8.9

2.2

4/1 8:00 PM

ABC
  Big Ten Championship Game:
Michigan State v. Ohio State

13.9

7.9

4.5

12/7 8:20 PM

FOX
  Monday Night Football:
49ers @ Redskins

13.854

8.6

4.9

11/25 8:25 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  NFL: Regional coverage

13.841

8.6

 

11/3 1:00 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Semifinals

13.799

9.5

2.0

11/18 8:00 PM

ABC
  CFB: Alabama @ Auburn

13.78

8.2

 

11/30 3:30 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 6 Performances

13.77

8.8

2.1

4/8 8:00 PM

ABC
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 8

13.718

9.4

2.0

11/4 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12?: Vegas Round 2

13.66

7.9

3.9

2/21 8:00 PM

FOX
  CFB: Alabama @ Texas A&M

13.59

8.5

 

9/13 3:30 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 2

13.565

8.8

2.3

9/23 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12?: Hollywood Round 3

13.45

7.9

4.3

2/13 8:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 7 Performances

13.45

8.7

2.1

9/30 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12: 10 Finalists Compete

13.44

8.0

3.8

3/13 8:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 2 Results

13.43

8.6

2.4

3/26 9:00 PM

ABC
  World Series, Game 2:
Cardinals @ Red Sox

13.429

8.3

3.6

10/24 8:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 5 Performances

13.4

8.7

2.2

3/20 8:00 PM

ABC
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 6

13.35

8.6

2.0

10/21 8:00 PM

ABC
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 9 Performances

13.33

8.6

2.0

5/13 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12?: Vegas Round 3

13.3

7.9

3.9

2/27 8:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 7

13.281

8.6

2.1

10/28 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12?: Hollywood Round 2

13.28

7.7

4.1

2/7 8:00 PM

FOX
  NFL: Regional coverage (or 4 PM ET)

13.264

8.2

 

9/29 1:00 PM

CBS
  The Voice 5: Live Shows: Top 5

13.2

 

3.5

12/9 8:00 PM

NBC
  American Idol 12: Top 6 Results

13.19

7.7

3.2

4/11 8:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 4 Performances

13.15

8.7

2.1

12/16 8:00 PM

ABC
  41st American Music Awards

13.142

 

4.5

11/24 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12: The Finalists are
Revealed in the First Live Results Show

13.12

7.7

3.6

3/7 8:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 8 Performances

13.12

8.4

2.0

3/14 8:00 PM

ABC
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 3

13.1

8.3

2.0

9/30 8:00 PM

ABC
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 4

12.998

8.7

2.0

10/7 8:00 PM

ABC
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 5

12.993

8.5

2.1

10/14 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12:
Top 9 Finalists Perform Live

12.94

7.7

3.6

3/20 8:00 PM

FOX
  American Idol: Top 10 Boys Perform Live

12.84

7.6

3.8

3/6 8:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 5 Results

12.73

8.2

2.2

3/27 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12: Top 5 Perform

12.71

7.5

3.4

4/17 8:00 PM

FOX
  The Voice 5: The Finale

12.681

 

3.3

12/16 8:00 PM

NBC
  The Voice 4: The Top 3 Performances

12.68

 

3.7

6/17 8:00 PM

NBC
  NFL: Regional coverage

12.679

8.0

 

11/10 1:00 PM

CBS
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 6 Results

12.65

8.0

2.0

12/23 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12?: Hollywood Round 4

12.59

7.4

3.7

2/14 8:00 PM

FOX
  Dancing with the Stars 17: Week 9

12.569

8.3

1.7

11/11 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12?: Vegas Round 4

12.56

7.5

3.8

2/28 8:00 PM

FOX
  Monday Night Football:
Colts @ Chargers

12.535

8.1

4.7

10/14 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  NFL: Regional coverage

12.5

8.0

 

9/15 1:00 PM

CBS
  World Series, Game 3:
Red Sox @ Cardinals

12.473

7.4

3.3

10/26 8:00 PM

FOX
  American Idol 12:
The 4 Finalists Perform Live

12.46

7.5

3.3

4/24 8:00 PM

FOX
  American Idol 12: Top 5 Results

12.42

7.5

3.0

4/18 8:00 PM

FOX
  American Idol 12: Top 8 Perform

12.33

7.4

3.2

3/27 8:00 PM

FOX
  Fiesta Bowl:
Oregon v. Kansas State

12.306

7.4

4.0

1/3 8:30 PM

ESPN
  American Idol: Top 6 Finalists Compete

12.23

7.4

3.2

4/10 8:00 PM

FOX
Dick Clark’s New Year’s
Rockin’ Eve Primetime

12.18

3.8

12/31 10:00 PM

ABC
  Pro Bowl

12.156

7.1

4.0

1/27 7:31 PM

NBC
  The Voice 4: Live Playoffs, Part 1

12.15

 

4.1

5/6 8:00 PM

NBC
  The Voice 5: Top 6 Results

12.143

 

3.4

12/3 9:00 PM

NBC
  Dancing with the Stars 16:
Week 4 Results

12.13

7.9

2.0

5/13 8:00 PM

ABC
  American Idol 12:
Candice Glover v. Kree Harrison

12.11

7.2

3.0

5/15 8:00 PM

FOX
  Monday Night Football:
Jets @ Falcons

12.103

7.9

4.4

10/7 8:30 PM

ESPN+
Locals
  The Voice 5: Live Shows: Top 6

12.029

 

3.4

12/2 8:00 PM

NBC
  The Voice 5: Live Shows: Top 12

11.986

 

3.8

11/11 8:00 PM

NBC
  Cotton Bowl:
Texas A&M v. Oklahoma

11.94

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