100 Most-Watched TV Series of 2022-23: This Seasons Winners and Losers

These are indeed the waning days of the scripted basic cable juggernaut. That may be a strange thing to point out when once again, the most-watched entertainment show of the just-completed 2022-2023 TV season was “Yellowstone,” the modern western that airs on Paramount Network. But “Yellowstone” is wrapping up sometime in the next year, and the only other scripted series from a basic cabler to consistently be ranked among TV’s top shows, AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” has already ended its run.

“The Walking Dead,” of course, dominated the season-ender charts for years — even beating football in the 2014-2015 TV season with a whopping 13.2 rating among adults 18-49. But as basic cable is almost completely out of the original scripted series business now (unscripted hits like “Vanderpump Rules” still abound, of course), those brief halcyon days are coming to an end.

For now, Taylor Sheridan can enjoy his moment at the top of the heap. “Yellowstone” ended the season as the only non-sports show to average over 10 million viewers a week — at 11.6 million. (CBS’ “NCIS,” next in line, is just shy of that, at 9.8 million). And it continues to be the only entertainment series to average a 2.0 rating or better among adults 18-49 — the next closest shows are half that. Even sneak linear previews of his new entries “1923” and “Tulsa King” made it on the top 100 of this season’s top series. (They’re not in our charts, however, since only two episodes of each were aired before moving to their Paramount+ streaming home.)

As the TV season ends, CBS took the overall crown for total viewers, averaging 5.9 million (down 5% from last year), while Fox was tops among adults 18-49 with a 1.1 rating. According to CBS, this marks its 15th consecutive win in viewers, a streak that ties its dominance from 1955 to 1970. And Fox, aided this year by the Super Bowl, notes that its +22% margin of victory in the demo is largest for any network since it last broadcast the big game in 2020.

Football, of course, remains the dominant story in broadcast and cable. The most-watched program in primetime continues to be NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” averaging 18 million viewers. Here’s a look at this TV season’s final stats.


“Fire Country”: The year’s hottest new show is appropriately about an elite group of firefighters and the prison release program that assists in extinguishing massive wildfires in Northern California. Max Thieriot stars in the show, from Jerry Bruckheimer, and created it with Tony Phelan and Joan Rater. The CBS drama is the season’s No. 1 new drama in total viewers (8.3 million) and adults 18-49 (0.8).

Amazon: In a first, this year’s series ranker includes one program found on streaming: Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football,” which is the No. 6 show of the year in total viewers, and No. 2 in adults 18-49. That’s due to a deal Amazon struck with Nielsen to measure “Thursday Night Football,” which is part of the same panel measurement that is used for all national TV ratings. The “TNF” number includes Prime Video viewing, as well as local over-the-air stations in the markets of the teams playing.

Broadcast sitcoms: Wait, this can still happen? There are shows actually improving on their year-to-year ratings? In the 2020s? It’s true — and in this case, they’re comedies! The year’s most-watched half-hour is “Young Sheldon,” which averaged 9.3 million viewers (up from 9.2 million last year). And breakout hit “Ghosts” continues to spook up stellar ratings, with 9.1 million viewers, a leap from 8.4 million last year. Other comedies on the rise include ABC’s “The Conners” (5 million from 4.8 million) and “Abbott Elementary” (3.9 million, from 3.8 million).


“East New York”: It’s the tough truth of being on CBS: Even its canceled dramas do better than many of its rivals’ best shows. And so went “East New York,” axed by the Eye net this May despite averaging 6.8 million viewers and a 0.6 rating. Despite ending the season in a solid No. 24 slot, CBS said “fuggedaboutit” to “East New York” after one season.

Anything premium not “House of the Dragon”: Pay networks are available in a fraction of U.S. TV homes — and these days, most of those shows are probably watched on streaming anyway. That’s why it’s impressive that HBO’s “House of the Dragon” made the full season ranker, averaging 2.7 million viewers in linear alone. But it was also the only premium cable series to make the grade.


America’s most-watched series of the 2022-2023 season are …

THE 100 TOP-RATED SERIES OF 2022-23 (ADULTS 18-49)


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

  1. CBS (5,888,000; down 5%)
  2. NBC (5,218,000; down 13%)
  3. Fox (4,419,000; down 1%)
  4. ABC (4,111,000; down 1%)
  5. ESPN (2,186,000; up 2%)
  6. Fox News (2,109,000; down 15%)
  7. Univision (1,279,000; down 14%)
  8. MSNBC (1,185,000; up 2%)
  9. TNT (1,073,000; down 9%)
  10. Hallmark (1,012,000; down 13%)
  11. Ion (964,000; down 6%)
  12. HGTV (959,000; down 16%)
  13. Telemundo (936,000; down 6%)
  14. TBS (881,000; down 19%)
  15. History (814,000; down 5%)
  16. TLC (791,000; down 23%)
  17. Discovery (721,000; down 17%)
  18. Food Network (720,000; down 15%)
  19. INSP (708,000; down 14%)
  20. USA Network (672,000; down 13%)
  21. Me TV (638,000; down 10%)
  22. CNN (605,000; down 19%)
  23. Bravo (551,000; down 16%)
  24. The CW (543,000; down 16%)
  25. ID (537,000; down 11%)


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

1. Fox — 1.01/9 (1,316,000; down 2%)
2. NBC — 0.83/8 (1,089,000; down 25%)
3. CBS — 0.66/6 (858,000; down 17%)
4. ESPN — 0.64/6 (839,000; up 3%)
5. ABC — 0.64/6 (834,000; down 11%)
6. Univision — 0.36/3 (476,000; down 21%)
7. TNT — 0.34/3 (448,000; down 10%)
8. Telemundo — 0.26/2 (345,000; down 9%)
9. TBS — 0.23/2 (279,000; down 22%)
10. USA — 0.17/2 (218,000; down 8%)


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

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