Most Popular TV Shows of 2023-24, Led By ‘Tracker’ and ‘Survivor’

Nielsen rankers for the 2023-2024 TV season in total viewers and adults 18-49: CBS’ freshman drama “Tracker” takes the crown as the No. 1 entertainment show

TV audiences tracked down “Tracker” in a big way this season. The freshman CBS drama, which stars Justin Hartley as a survivalist who helps law enforcement and others solve tough cases, was the 2023-24 TV season’s most-watched entertainment series. According to the Eye network, that’s the first time a first-year TV series was ranked as the No. 1 show since “Survivor” premiered as an instant phenomenon in 2000 (and that was a summer show, so there’s an asterisk on that one).

“Tracker” was helped, of course, by premiering in February behind Super Bowl LVIII — giving it a huge jump start. And this was an unusual, truncated TV season due to the Hollywood strikes, which meant limited episodic orders for most programs. Last year’s top-rated show, Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone,” hasn’t aired an original episode in more than a year — and yet still made the charts, but via repeats that aired this season on CBS.

According to CBS, “Tracker” is the most-watched new series since “Desperate Housewives” in the 2004-05 TV season. For its first seven episodes, the show has averaged 19 million multiplatform viewers across broadcast and streaming over 35-day viewing.

No surprise, football led the season rankers, by way of No. 1 NFL franchise “” on NBC, followed by the return of “Monday Night Football” on ABC. (Combine the “MNF” franchise’s ABC/ESPN simulcast, and that would actually top “SNF.”) Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” was close behind in third place — a unique function of its deal with Nielsen, which measures the franchise as if it were a linear telecast. Meanwhile, with “Monday Night Football” back full time on ABC, that gave the Alphabet net the only season-to-season boost among the Big 4. (Among all broadcasters, Telemundo saw the biggest gains of the year.)

CBS and Fox run football on Sunday afternoons, so those broadcasts aren’t eligible for these primetime charts. But they sure help as solid lead-ins, as “Tracker” and even shows like Fox’s “Krapopolis” (which opened strong in its first few episodes as a football lead-out) can attest.

The most-watched comedy of the year was CBS’ “Young Sheldon,” ending its series run on top (and likely even getting a boost from its popularity on Netflix). In the battle of the music contests, “The Voice” bested “American Idol” in viewers, but “Idol” led in 18-49. And “60 Minutes” kept its top 10 streak going for another year.

Besides “Tracker” and football, here are a few more winners and losers of the just-completed TV season.

WINNERS

“The Golden Bachelor”: Depending on whether you consider it a new show, given its identical format to “The Bachelor,” the ABC series was nonetheless the most-watched new unscripted series of the year — besting the original-recipe “Bachelor” by an average of more than a million viewers. The two editions are virtually tied in the younger demo — but again, that says a lot about the power of the older-focused “Golden” edition.

“Survivor”: The OG still has legs. Among adults 18-49, the CBS competition series is this year’s top-rated entertainment series. Not bad for a show that just ended its 46th edition (and premiered all the way back in 2000).

Game shows: With scripted fare mostly off the air in the fall, there was room for all sorts of primetime gamers in the list of this year’s most-watched shows: “The Price Is Right at Night,” “Celebrity Jeopardy!,” “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” “Password,” “Let’s Make a Deal Prime,” “The $100,000 Pyramid” and more. Fox found big success with “The Floor,” the only fully original format to make this year’s list of 100 most-watched primetime series.

LOSERS

“NCIS Hawai’i”: CBS, you get stink eye for saying pau to this hit series, which was canceled even though it ranks No. 16 in total viewers and was even up year-to-year in viewership. Sure, filming in the islands isn’t cheap, but there should have been a way to make this work.

Basic cable: For most of the 2010s, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” was the most-watched entertainment show in all of TV, broadcast or cable. As recently as last year, “Yellowstone” was the same thing (and the final season of “Walking Dead” still made it in the top 100). This year, just one scripted basic cable show made the list: Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart,” at No. 89.

Paramount Network: And actually, without the “Yellowstone” phenom this season, Paramount dropped the farthest of any network in the list of 100 broadcast and cable networks, slipping 48%.

TOP 100 SHOWS OF 2023-24, TOTAL VIEWERS

America’s most-watched series of the 2023-2024 season are …

Rank Title (Network) VIEWERS (000)
1. NFL Sunday Night Football (NBC) 19,838
2. NFL Monday Night Football on ABC (ABC) 11,986
3. NFL Thursday Night Football (Amazon Prime) 11,973
4. Tracker (CBS) 10,799
5. NCIS (CBS) 9,660
6. Young Sheldon (CBS) 9,101
7. FBI (CBS) 8,960
8. Chicago Fire (NBC) 8,794
9. Blue Bloods (CBS) 8,449
10. 60 Minutes (CBS) 8,266
11. Ghosts (CBS) 8,206
12. Chicago Med (NBC) 8,203
13. Chicago PD (NBC) 7,959
14. NFL Monday Night Football on ESPN (ESPN) 7,916
15. The Equalizer (CBS) 7,900
16. NCIS: Hawai’i (CBS) 7,788
17. Elsbeth (CBS) 7,454
18. FBI: Most Wanted (CBS) 7,389
19. Fire Country (CBS) 7,332
20. FBI: International (CBS) 7,208
21. The Voice (Monday) (NBC) 7,143
22. Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 6,905
23. The Voice (Tuesday) (NBC) 6,891
24. 9-1-1 (ABC) 6,855
25. Will Trent (ABC) 6,738
26. NCIS: Sydney (CBS) 6,533
27. Survivor (CBS) 6,495
28. So Help Me Todd (CBS) 6,184
29. S.W.A.T. (CBS) 6,170
30. CSI: Vegas (CBS) 6,153
31. The Golden Bachelor (ABC) 5,947
32. Irrational (NBC) 5,938
33. The Rookie (ABC) 5,925
34. Dancing with the Stars (ABC) 5,829
35. American Idol (Sunday) (ABC) 5,809
36. Law & Order (NBC) 5,989
37. The Neighborhood (CBS) 5,669
38. Bob Hearts Abishola (CBS) 5,332
39. American Idol (Monday) (ABC) 5,283
40. Law & Order: Organized Crime (NBC) 5,183
41. The Good Doctor (ABC) 5,105
42. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 5,017
43. Found (NBC) 4,986
44. Magnum P.I. (NBC) 4,884
45. The Price Is Right at Night (Wednesday) (CBS) 4,609
46. AGT Fantasy League (NBC) 4,565
47. The Amazing Race (CBS) 4,554
48. Celebrity Jeopardy! (ABC) 4,525
49. Saturday Night Football (ABC) 4,444
50. The Masked Singer (Fox) 4,409
51. America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 4,364
52. The Bachelor (ABC) 4,327
53. Yellowstone (repeats) (CBS) 4,271
54. The Conners (ABC) 4,242
55. Station 19 (ABC) 4,139
56. Abbott Elementary (ABC) 4,032
57. 20/20 (ABC) 3,938
58. The Price Is Right at Night (Friday) (CBS) 3,933
59. Shark Tank (ABC) 3,900
60. Night Court (NBC) 3,853
61. Big Brother (Tuesday) (CBS) 3,851
62. Big Brother (Thursday) (CBS) 3,787
63. Deal Or No Deal Island (NBC) 3,761
64. Dateline Friday (NBC) 3,722
65. NBA Saturday Primetime (ABC) 3,720
66. Big Brother (Sunday) (CBS) 3,714
67. Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (ABC) 3,703
68. The Price Is Right at Night (Monday) (CBS) 3,699
69. La Brea (NBC) 3,629
70. Quantum Leap (NBC) 3,562
71. Dateline Thursday (NBC) 3,524
72. The Floor (Fox) 3,523
73. 48 Hours (CBS) 3,359
74. Extended Family (NBC) 3,335
75. Let’s Make a Deal Prime (Wednesday) (CBS) 3,317
76. Password (NBC) 3,272
77. Curse of Oak Island (History) 3,263
78. $100,000 Pyramid (ABC) 3,250
79. Not Dead Yet (ABC) 3,206
80. Next Level Chef (Fox) 3,204
81. What Would You Do? (ABC) 3,095
82. Hell’s Kitchen (Fox) 3,047
Let’s Make a Deal Prime (Friday) (CBS) 3,047
84. NBC B1G Saturday Night Football (NBC) 3,016
85. Press Your Luck (ABC) 3,015
86. Ghosts UK (CBS) 2,917
87. Bachelor in Paradise (ABC) 2,890
88. The Weakest Link (NBC) 2,859
89. When Calls the Heart (Hallmark) 2,771
90. Transplant (NBC) 2,738
91. Jesse Watters Primetime (Fox News) 2,725
92. Raid the Cage (CBS) 2,714
93. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC) 2,692
94. The Wall (Friday) (NBC) 2,645
95. Farmer Wants a Wife (Fox) 2,583
96. WWE Smackdown (Fox) 2,581
97. Alert: Missing Persons Unit (Fox) 2,549
98. Hannity (Fox News) 2,446
99. We Are Family (Fox) 2,443
100. Let’s Make a Deal Prime (Monday) (CBS) 2,398
Source: Nielsen. 9-11-2023 to 5-12-2024. Preliminary Live+7 Days, Prime, Original telecasts only. Top 100 shown based on P2+. Excludes: Sustainers, sports and entertainment programming with <2 telecasts, Spanish-language programming, playoff games, semi final games, final games children’s networks, sports commentary, specials and movies.

THE 100 TOP-RATED SERIES OF 2023-24 (ADULTS 18-49)

Rank PROGRAM (NETWORK) RATING /SHARE 18-49 VIEWERS (000)
1. NFL Sunday Night Football (NBC) 5.2/43 6,850
2. NFL Thursday Night Football (Amazon Prime) 4.2/39 5,538
3. NFL Monday Night Football on ESPN (ESPN) 2.6/23 3,418
NFL Monday Night Football on ABC (ABC) 2.6/23 3,387
5. Survivor (CBS) 1.1/12 1,399
6. Saturday Night Football (ABC) 1.0/11 1,351
NBA Saturday Primetime (ABC) 1.0/13 1,299
 8. 9-1-1 (ABC) 0.8/10 1,118
Chicago PD (NBC) 0.8/11 1,115
  Law & Order: SVU (NBC) 0.8/9 1,104
The Bachelor (ABC) 0.8/9 1,076
  Chicago Fire (NBC) 0.8/9 1,075
Tracker (CBS) 0.8/9 1,065
  The Golden Bachelor (ABC) 0.8/7 1,061
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 0.8/9 1,041
  Big Brother (Thursday) (CBS) 0.8/7 1,007
 17. 60 Minutes (CBS) 0.7/7 980
  Ghosts (CBS) 0.7/8 976
Chicago Med (NBC) 0.7/8 964
  Young Sheldon (CBS) 0.7/9 955
  Abbott Elementary (ABC) 0.7/8 953
  WWE Smackdown (Fox) 0.7/9 950
  Dancing with the Stars (ABC) 0.7/8 949
  Big Brother (Tuesday) (CBS) 0.7/7 917
  Big Brother (Sunday) (CBS) 0.7/6 904
  The Amazing Race (CBS) 0.7/8 896
  American Idol (Sunday) (ABC) 0.7/7 867
  FBI (CBS) 0.7/8 865
 29. The Masked Singer (Fox) 0.6/7 848
  Next Level Chef (Fox) 0.6/7 842
  Fire Country (CBS) 0.6/7 837
NCIS (CBS) 0.6/6 824
The Voice (Monday) (NBC) 0.6/6 821
WWE Raw (USA) 0.6/6 819
Law & Order: Organized Crime (NBC) 0.6/8 809
The Voice (Tuesday) (NBC) 0.6/7 801
  The Simpsons (Fox) 0.6/6 794
  NBC B1G Saturday Night Football (NBC) 0.6/7 791
  Bachelor in Paradise (ABC) 0.6/6 776
The Floor (Fox) 0.6/6 766
  The Equalizer (CBS) 0.6/6 763
  Fox College Football: Pac12 Prime (Fox) 0.6/6 752
  The Rookie (ABC) 0.6/6 745
  Hell’s Kitchen (Fox) 0.6/6 734
  Found (NBC) 0.6/7 729
 46. Blue Bloods (CBS) 0.5/7 720
  Law & Order (NBC) 0.5/6 716
  S.W.A.T. (CBS) 0.5/7 715
  American Idol (Monday) (Fox) 0.5/6 714
  Will Trent (ABC) 0.5/6 711
  Station 19 (ABC) 0.5/6 710
  The Neighborhood (CBS) 0.5/6 710
  FBI: Most Wanted (CBS) 0.5/6 705
Fox College Football: Big 12 Prime (Fox) 0.5/6 690
NCIS: Hawai’i (CBS) 0.5/6 682
  Sister Wives (TLC) 0.5/5 674
  The Conners (ABC) 0.5/6 671
  FBI: International (CBS) 0.5/6 667
  Vanderpump Rules (AMC) 0.5/6 657
  Celebrity Jeopardy! (ABC) 0.5/5 657
  College Football Prime (ESPN) 0.5/6 646
  Challenge: USA (CBS) 0.5/5 642
  Irrational (NBC) 0.5/5 627
  Elsbeth (CBS) 0.5/6 624
  The Price is Right at Night (Wednesday) (CBS) 0.5/5 621
  Bob’s Burgers (Fox) 0.5/4 618
  So Help Me Todd (CBS) 0.5/5 615
  20/20 (ABC) 0.5/6 614
  CSI: Vegas (CBS) 0.5/6 604
  America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC) 0.5/4 603
Dateline Friday (NBC) 0.5/5 595
  Night Court (NBC) 0.5/5 594
  Shark Tank (ABC) 0.5/6 594
 74. Family Guy (Fox) 0.4/4 593
  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Bravo) 0.4/5 578
  The Good Doctor (ABC) 0.4/5 576
  Quantum Leap (NBC) 0.4/5 575
  NCIS: Sydney (CBS) 0.4/5 564
  Deal or No Deal Island (NBC) 0.4/5 556
  MLB Sunday Night (ESPN) 0.4/5 553
  AGT Fantasy League (NBC) 0.4/4 543
  We Are Family (ESPN2) 0.4/4 538
  Krapopolis (Fox) 0.4/4 531
  Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (ABC) 0.4/4 526
  Dateline Thursday (NBC) 0.4/4 525
  Bob Hearts Abishola (CBS) 0.4/4 520
  Extended Family (NBC) 0.4/4 517
  Special Forces (Fox) 0.4/3 513
  The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion (MTV) 0.4/4 511
  Magnum P.I. (NBC) 0.4/4 510
  NBA Wednesday on ABC (ABC) 0.4/4 504
Kitchen Nightmares (Fox) 0.4/3 503
  Masterchef Junior (Fox) 0.4/4 492
  NFL Monday Night Football Manningcast (ESPN2) 0.4/3 489
  Jersey Shore: Family Vacation (MTV) 0.4/4 489
  RuPaul’s Drag Race (MTV) 0.4/4 485
  The Price is Right at Night (Monday) (CBS) 0.4/3 480
  Not Dead Yet (ABC) 0.4/4 472
  90 Day Fiancé (TNT) 0.4/3 470
  Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo) 0.4/4 467
  Press Your Luck (ABC) 0.4/4 467
  Let’s Make a Deal Prime (Wednesday) (CBS) 0.4/4 466
Source: Nielsen. 9-11-2023 to 5-12-2024. Preliminary Live+7 Days, Prime, Original telecasts only. Top 100 shown based on A18-49. Excludes: Sustainers, sports and entertainment programming with <2 telecasts, Spanish-language programming, playoff games, semi final games, final games children’s networks, sports commentary, specials and movies.

THE MOST-WATCHED NETWORKS OF 2023-24 (BY TOTAL VIEWERS)

Network (Total viewer number; Year-to-year comparison)

  1. CBS (5,558,000; down 5%)
  2. NBC (4,796,000; down 8%)
  3. ABC (4,220,000; up 4%)
  4. Fox (3,134,000; down 30%)
  5. Fox News (2,012,000; down 5%)
  6. ESPN (1,999,000; down 8%)
  7. MSNBC (1,219,000; up 3%)
  8. Univision (1,191,000; down 7%)
  9. Telemundo (1,020,000; up 9%)
  10. TNT (968,000; down 4%)
  11. Hallmark (967,000; down 5%)
  12. Ion (947,000; down 2%)
  13. TBS (902,000; up 1%)
  14. HGTV (877,000; down 9%)
  15. History (766,000; down 6%)
  16. Me TV (657,000; up 3%)
  17. TLC (642,000; down 19%)
  18. USA Network (635,000; down 6%)
  19. Food Network (617,000; down 15%)
  20. Discovery Network (612,000; down 15%)
  21. INSP (599,000; down 15%)
  22. CNN (595,000; down 3%)
  23. Grit (520,000; up 14%)
  24. Bravo (510,000; down 7%)
  25. Hallmark Mystery (495,000; up 11%)
  26. Investigation Discovery (475,000; down 11%)
  27. The CW (457,000; down 16%)
  28. TV Land (437,000; down 9%)
  29. Lifetime (392,000; down 16%)
  30. FX (386,000; down 2%)

THE TOP-RATED NETWORKS OF 2023-24 (BY ADULTS 18-49)

Network — 18-49 rating/share (18-49 viewer number; Year-to-year comparison)

1. CBS — 0.77/6 (1,016,000; up 18%)
2. NBC — 0.71/7 (942,000; down 15%)
3. Fox — 0.68/6 (896,000; down 33%)
4. ABC — 0.65/7 (854,000; up 3%)
5. ESPN — 0.58/6 (766,000; down 8%)
6. TNT — 0.30/3 (396,000; down 6%)
7. Univision — 0.28/3 (367,000; down 23%)
8. Telemundo — 0.23/3 (308,000; down 11%)
9. TBS — 0.22/2 (284,000; down 6%)
10. USA — 0.17/2 (218,000; even)

HISTORICAL CHART RECORDS:

2012-2013 TV season

2013-2014 TV season

2014-2015 TV season

2015-2016 TV season

2016-2017 TV season

2017-2018 TV season

2018-2019 TV season

2019-2020 TV season

2020-2021 TV season

2021-2022 TV season

2022-2023 TV season

Reference

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