TV & Showbiz

Yikes! NBC Falls to Fifth Place in February Sweeps


The news just keeps getting worse for the peacock.

In February sweeps, one of four ratings measurement periods conducted by Nielsen, a new projection shows NBC will not only finish behind CBS, Fox and ABC, but also behind Univision.

Just a few months ago, NBC was celebrating its first November sweeps victory in nine years. And now, it’s likely to become the first American network to take a spot behind the Spanish language Univision network, which is headquartered in New York and boasts the largest number of Spanish-speaking viewers in the world according to Nielsen. Univision has often beaten The CW in ratings, and it had begun showing growth in prime time, taking victories away from NBC in February.

Part of the success of Univision, some experts suggest, is the fact that the network offers new episodes of its prime time telenovelas every week of the year. Telenovelas are limited-run serial dramas, similar to prime time soap operas except for the fact that these dramas actually do have an ending.

NBC, to its credit, didn’t expect to win February as they celebrated November’s success. I doubt seriously that they expected to come in fifth place, however. If they did, they rightly didn’t make that fear public.

Here, so far, are the network rankings for Adults 18-49 in the February sweeps:

  1. CBS: 4.9
  2. Fox: 2.0
  3. ABC: 1.7
  4. Univision: 1.5
  5. NBC: 1.2

I wonder if it’s too soon to suggest that it’s time networks started producing more new episodes and airing fewer reruns.

It probably is, but I’d suggest it, anyway.


  1. This might sound terrible – but why is Univision included? They have sort of a niche market – Spanish language speakers. But then on the flip side…that makes NBC’s 5th place look even that much worse…

    1. ChristopherManee The distinction, I believe, is that Univision is an American network headquartered in the USA; the fact that one of the “big four” networks could fall below the ratings of one of the “little many” is newsworthy in itself. But the fact that a NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING network could rate higher than one of the big four is even more noteworthy.

    1. @fredontv And the premiere of “Do No Harm,” which set a record for lowest rated debut, didn’t help, either.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.