Broadcast ratings took a hit during the fall season without scripted programs filling the schedule. ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC all recorded ratings losses following the aftermath of dual Hollywood strikes.
ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC “likely missed out on airing more than 200 episodes” of scripted content this fall, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The unscripted series such as The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, and Survivor fell short of the ratings scripted shows garner.
The dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes in Hollywood this summer halted production for nearly all scripted content. Broadcast networks, facing an empty fall lineup, replaced scripted slots with unscripted content or reruns.
ABC averaged 4.13 million views for Monday Night Football last fall. NBC’s Sunday Night Football averaged 19.6 million viewers per game since the beginning of the season, up 10% from last year. The network also hosts Big Ten and Notre Dame football games on Saturday evenings, which saw a gain of more than 1 million viewers year to year. However, when sports and news are excluded, ABC saw a 6% decrease in primetime viewers, while NBC saw a 15% drop.
CBS and Fox, which don’t air primetime football games, dropped 32% and 27% in total viewers compared to last fall, respectively. CBS’s primetime viewers plummeted by 32% overall, or 37% excluding news and sports programs. The network relies heavily on scripted programs, and had to rely on reruns, unscripted series, and import content from Paramount Global, including Yellowstone, SEAL Team, and Ghosts. Fox saw a 27% drop in primetime viewers and a 34% decline, excluding news and sports content.
Networks may see a boost in ratings come next year when broadcasters resume regular programming, though it looks as if sports and news are the main driving factors keeping people tied to cable TV.