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One Astonishing Chart Shows Just How Much Network TV Is Faltering

Photo of Jacob Combs By Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood June 13, 2014 at 12:18PM

Woe is network TV. As the 2013-2014 season comes to an end, the numbers are in and they do not tell a pretty story: viewership is down, and networks are not having much success at launching new hits.
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Big Four TV Network logos

Woe is network TV.  As the 2013-2014 season comes to an end, the numbers are in and they do not tell a pretty story: viewership is down, and networks are not having much success at launching new hits.

Only NBC had good news, with growth of four percent after a 10-year decline.  But the other networks are losing young viewers, and fast--the Big Four had about a 10 percent lower rating (at 9.6) among viewers under 50 than they did last year.

Vulture has put together the primetime averages for 75 returning series (among the Big Four and CW) and crunched the numbers on the decline or growth amongst under-50 viewers.  Just about every show, it turns out, has lost ground.  Almost 40 shows lost 10 percent of their viewership, and more than 20 lost 25 percent or more.  ("Raising Hope" came in with a dismal 50 percent decline.)

Amazingly, amongst this blood-letting, only eight shows got the axe this year: "Community," "The Carrie Diaries," "The Neighbors," "Nikita," "Raising Hope," "Revolution," "Suburgatory," and "The X-Factor."

Even more astonishingly, of the ten (ten!) shows that grew their viewership, four of them came from just two producers: Shonda Rhimes and Dick Wolf.  (Rhimes in particular had a great year, with "Scandal" undergoing a 45 percent increase in viewership.)  For nearly everyone else, the last TV season has been a rough one, indeed.

Check out Vulture's full chart below.

Vulture 2013-2014 TV chart


This article is related to: TV, TV News, Television, Television, NBC


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.