Though final tallies for the 2011-2012 television season won't be available until Thursday, after the notable conclusions of American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, the year-end rankings should paint a familiar picture.
Among the all-important adults 18-49, Fox once again topped the competition, averaging a 3.2 rating for the season, complementing American Idol with a steady fall showing from The X Factor. It posted the steepest drop of all networks though, dropping three tenths of a point (9 percent) from the previous season. ABC also dropped, though only by a tenth of a point to a 2.4. But that slip was enough to have it dip to fourth place behind NBC.
Riding The Voice, the Super Bowl and Sunday Night Football, which usurped Idol for the first time in eight seasons, the Peacock climbed to third place with the season's most ambitious growth: two tenths of a point for a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49. (NBC's advantage, however, only stands with all programming taken into account. Excluding specials, NBC and ABC are tied at a 2.5 rating.)
In second place, CBS added another tenth of a point for a 3.0 in the demo -- thanks in large part to its Monday night block, Big Bang Theory and new series 2 Broke Girls and Person of Interest.
With overall viewers, CBS once again topped the broadcast pack, actually posting the widest margin of victory by a network in 23 years. The Eye posted a modest 1 percent bump for a primetime average of 11.748 million viewers. Fox remained in second place, though, again, it suffered the most significant lost: over 800,000 viewers. The network averaged 8.866 million viewers, a loss of 8 percent, though the remaining two American Idol episodes will likely recover some of that loss.
ABC lost 1 percent of its audience for an average of 8.360 million, remaining in third place, while NBC narrowed the gap with a 5 percent bump. The network brought in an average 7.384 million viewers for the season.
The CW dropped a tenth of a point among adults 18-49 for a 0.8 rating and lost 300,000 viewers for an average audience of 1.7 million.