Nielsen ratings

Nielsen ratings are the audience measurement systems operated by Nielsen Media Research that seek to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States using a rating system.

Nielsen Media Research was founded by Arthur C. Nielsen, a market analyst whose career had begun in the 1920s with brand advertising analysis and had expanded into radio market analysis during the 1930s, culminating in Nielsen ratings of radio programming, which was meant to provide statistics as to the markets of radio shows. The first Nielsen ratings for radio programs were released the first week of December 1947. They measured the top 20 programs in four areas: total audience, average audience, cumulative audience, and homes per dollar spent for time and talent.[1]

In 1950, Nielsen moved to television, developing a ratings system using the methods he and his company had developed for radio. That method became the primary source of audience measurement information in the television industry.

Measuring ratings

Nielsen television ratings are gathered in one of two ways:

  1. Viewer "diaries," in which a target audience self-records its viewing or listening habits. By targeting various demographics, the assembled statistical models provide a rendering of the audiences of any given show, network, and programming hour.
  2. A more technologically sophisticated system uses Set Meters, which are small devices connected to televisions in selected homes. These devices gather the viewing habits of the home and transmit the information nightly to Nielsen through a "Home Unit" connected to a phone line. The technology-based home unit system is meant to allow market researchers to study television viewing habits on a minute to minute basis, seeing the exact moment viewers change channels or turn off their television set. In addition to set meters, individual viewer reporting devices, such as people meters, have allowed the company to separate household viewing information into various demographic groups.

Changing systems of viewing have impacted Nielsen's methods of market research. In 2005, Nielsen began measuring the usage of digital video recording devices such as TiVos. Initial results indicated that time-shifted viewing will have a significant impact on television ratings. A year later, the networks were not yet figuring these new results into their ad rates because of the resistance of advertisers.[2]

Since about October 2017, Nielsen has also begun to track select programs from specific partners that air on subscription-based video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix. Partnering distributors insert a "tag" into the program to be distributed on these services which Nielsen can track without input from Netflix. Partnering distributors are able to determine if these ratings can be released publicly or not.[3]

Ratings/share and total viewers

The most commonly cited Nielsen results are reported in two measurements: ratings points and share, usually reported as: "ratings points/share". There were 119.6 million TV homes in the U.S. for the 2017–18 TV season (Nielsen’s National Television Household Universe Estimates).[4] The number of persons age 2 and older in U.S. TV households is estimated to be 304.5 million. A single national ratings point represents 1% of the total number. Nielsen re-estimates the number of television-equipped households each August for the upcoming television season.[5]

Share is the percentage of television sets in use that are tuned to the program of Households Using Television (HUT) or Persons Using Television (PUT) who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time.[6][7] For example, Nielsen may report a show as receiving a 4.4/8 during its broadcast; this would mean that 4.4% of all television-equipped households (that is to say homes with a TV set, not total number of people), regardless of the TV being on or not, were tuned in to that program, while 8% of households that were watching TV at that time were watching the specific program.[8]

Because ratings are based on samples, it is possible for shows to get a 0.0 rating, despite having an audience; the CNBC talk show McEnroe was one notable example.[9] Another example is The CW show, CW Now, which received two 0.0 ratings in the same season. In 2014, Nielsen reported that American viewership of live television (totaling on average four hours and 32 minutes per day) had dropped 12 minutes per day compared to the year before. Nielsen reported several reasons for the shift away from live television: increased viewership of time-shifted television (mainly through DVRs) and viewership of internet video (clips from video sharing websites and streams of full-length television shows).[10]


Nielsen Media Research also provides statistics on specific demographics as advertising rates are influenced by such factors as age, gender, race, economic class, and area. Younger viewers are considered more attractive for many products, whereas in some cases older and wealthier audiences are desired, or female audiences are desired over males.

In general, the number of viewers within the 18–49 age range is more important than the total number of viewers.[11][12] According to Advertising Age, during the 2007–08 season, ABC was able to charge $419,000 per commercial sold during its medical drama Grey's Anatomy, compared to only $248,000 for a commercial during CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, despite CSI having almost five million more viewers on average.[13] Because of its strength in young "demos" (demographic groups), NBC was able to charge almost three times as much for a commercial during Friends as CBS charged for Murder, She Wrote, even though the two series had a similar amount of total viewership during the two seasons they were on the air concurrently.[11] Glee (on Fox) and The Office (on NBC) drew fewer total viewers than NCIS (on CBS) during the 2009–10 season, but earned an average of $272,694 and $213,617 respectively, compared to $150,708 for NCIS.[14]

Commercial ratings

Nielsen also provides viewership data calculated as the average viewership for only the commercial time within the program. These "Commercial Ratings" first became available on May 31, 2007. Additionally, Nielsen provides different "streams" of this data in order to take into consideration delayed viewing (DVR) data, at any interval up to seven days.[15] C3 was the metric launched in 2007, and refers to the ratings for average commercial minutes in live programming plus total playback by digital video recorder out to three days after.[16] By the end of 2012, some television executives wanted to see C7, ratings for live plus seven days, with CBS Corporation chief executive officer Les Moonves making the claim C7 made ratings increase by 30%.[17]


The American television measurement by Nielsen is based on three different methodological approaches. In the 25 TV markets with the highest sales (e. g. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver) the Local People Meter (LPM) is measured. Individuals register individually, the measurement is carried out on 365 days over 24 hours.[18] The SET Meter (Diary & Electronic) is used in 31 smaller markets (such as Nashville, Salt Lake City). In four sweeps in the months of February, May, July and November, target group data are collected with the diary and validated with the data of the devices (TV set on/off) in the participating households.[18] In the 154 TV markets with the lowest sales (e. g. Harrisburg, PA or Honolulu) the use of TV is only recorded by means of a diary survey.

Each year, Nielsen processes approximately two million paper diaries from households across the country,[19] for the months of November, February, May and July—also known as the "sweeps" rating periods.[20] The term "sweeps" dates from 1954, when Nielsen collected diaries from households in the Eastern United States first; from there they would "sweep" west.[21][22] Seven-day diaries (or eight-day diaries in homes with DVRs) are mailed to homes to keep a tally of what is watched on each television set and by whom. Over the course of a sweeps period, diaries are mailed to a new panel of homes each week. At the end of the month, all of the viewing data from the individual weeks is aggregated.

This local viewing information provides a basis for program scheduling and advertising decisions for local television stations, cable systems, and advertisers. Typically, the November, February and May sweeps are considered more important; nevertheless, the July sweeps can have local impact in regard to personnel.[20]

In some of the mid-size markets, diaries provide viewer information for up to two additional "sweeps" months (October and January).

Nielsen sweeps periods
Season November February May July
2016–2017 October 27 – November 23, 2016 February 2 – March 1, 2017[23] April 27 – May 24, 2017 June 29 – July 26, 2017
2017–2018 October 26 – November 22, 2017 February 1–28, 2018 April 26 – May 23, 2018 June 28 – July 25, 2018
2018–2019 October 25 – November 21, 2018 January 31 – February 27, 2019 April 25 – May 22, 2019 June 27 – July 24, 2019
2019–2020 October 31 – November 27, 2019 January 30 – February 26, 2020 April 23 – May 20, 2020 June 25 – July 22, 2020

Criticism of ratings systems

There is some public critique regarding accuracy and potential bias within Nielsen's rating system, including some concerns that the Nielsen ratings system is rapidly becoming outdated because of new technology like smartphones, DVRs, tablet computers and Internet streaming services as preferred or alternative methods for television viewing. In June 2006, however, Nielsen announced a plan to revamp its entire methodology to include all types of media viewing in its sample.[24]

Since viewers are aware of being part of the Nielsen sample, it can lead to response bias in recording and viewing habits. Audience counts gathered by the self-reporting diary methodology are sometimes higher than those gathered by the electronic meters which eliminate any response bias.

Another criticism of the measuring system itself is that it fails the most important criterion of a sample: it is not random in the statistical sense of the word. A small fraction of the population is selected and only those that actually accept are used as the sample size. In many local areas during the 1990s, the difference between a rating that kept a show on the air and one that would cancel it was so small as to be statistically insignificant, and yet the show that just happened to get the higher rating would survive.[25] In addition, the Nielsen ratings encouraged a strong push for demographic measurements. This caused problems with households that had multiple television sets or households where viewers would enter the simpler codes (usually their child's) raising serious questions to the quality of the demographic data.[25] The situation further deteriorated as the popularity of cable television expanded the number of viewable networks to the point that the margin of error has increased, because the sampling sizes are too small.[25][26][27] Compounding matters is the fact that of the sample data that is collected, advertisers will not pay for time shifted programs (those that are recorded for replay at a different time),[28] rendering the "raw" numbers useless from a statistical point of view. Even in 2013, it was noted that Internet streams of television programs were still not counted because they had either no ads (such as Netflix) or totally different advertising (such as Hulu) than their television counterparts, effectively skewing the raw data on how popular a show really is.[29]

A related criticism of the Nielsen ratings system is its lack of a system for measuring television audiences in environments outside the home, such as college dormitories, transport terminals, bars, jails and other public places where television is frequently viewed, often by large numbers of people in a common setting. In 2005, Nielsen announced plans to incorporate viewing by away-from-home college students into its sample. Internet television viewing is another rapidly growing market for which Nielsen ratings fail to account for viewers. iTunes, Hulu, YouTube, and some of the networks' own websites (such as and provide full-length web-based programming, either subscription-based or ad-supported. Though web sites can already track popularity of a site and the referring page, they cannot track viewer demographics. To both track this and expand their market research offerings, Nielsen purchased NetRatings in 2007.[30] However, as noted in a February 2012 New York Times article, the computer and mobile streams of a program are counted separately from the standard television broadcasts, further degrading the overall quality of the sampling data. As a result, there was no way for NBC to tell if there was any overlap between the roughly 111.3 million traditional television viewers [31][32] and 2.1 million live stream viewers of Super Bowl XLVII.[33]

Responding to the criticism regarding accusations by several media executives (including Viacom CEO Phillippe Dauman and former Fox Entertainment Group chief operating officer Chase Carey) that it failed to count viewers watching television programs on digital platforms, Nielsen executive vice president of global product leadership Megan Clarken stated in an April 2015 summit by the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement that the company is able to count digital viewers in audience and demographic reports, but unable to do so under the current set of rules devised by networks and advertising industries last revised in 2006. As such, Nielsen can only count viewership for television-originated broadcasts, and must exclude viewers who watch programs on digital platforms if the program does not have an identical advertising load or a linear watermark.[34]

After Nielsen took over the contract for producing data on Irish advertising in 2009, agencies said that they were "disastrous" and claimed that the information produced by them is too inaccurate to be trusted by them or their clients.[35]

In 2004, News Corporation retained the services of public relations firm Glover Park to launch a campaign aimed at delaying Nielsen's plan to replace its aging household electronic data collection methodology in larger local markets with its newer electronic People Meter system. The advocates in the public relations campaign claimed that data derived from the newer People Meter system represented a bias toward underreporting minority viewing, which could lead to a de facto discrimination in employment against minority actors and writers. However, Nielsen countered the campaign by revealing its sample composition counts. According to Nielsen Media Research's sample composition counts, as of November 2004, nationwide, African American households using People Meters represented 6.7% of the Nielsen sample, compared to 6.0% in the general population. Latino households represent 5.7% of the Nielsen sample, compared to 5.0% in the general population. By October 2006, News Corporation and Nielsen settled, with Nielsen agreeing to spend an additional $50 million to ensure that minority viewing was not being underreported by the new electronic people meter system.[36]

In 2011, CBS and Nielsen proposed a model consisting of six viewer segments which according to their empirical research are more relevant for advertisers than older models based on gender and age. The segments are based on user behavior, motivations, and psychographics. It is argued that the model can increase reaching the desired audience as well as message recall and advertisement likeability.[37]

Top-rated programs in the U.S.

The table below lists television shows in the U.S. with the highest average household Nielsen rating for each television season.[38][39][40][41][42]

     The program with the all-time highest average rating is in bold text
     Sports programs have italicized rating numbers
     Two or more programs tie for highest average Nielsen rating in the same season
     The program with the all-time longest winning streak in Nielsen ratings based on number of consecutive seasons

Season Program Network Rating
1950–1951 Texaco Star Theater
1951–1952 Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts
1952–1953 I Love Lucy 67.3
1953–1954 58.8
1954–1955 49.3
1955–1956 The $64,000 Question 47.5
1956–1957 I Love Lucy 43.7
1957–1958 Gunsmoke 43.1
1958–1959 39.6
1959–1960 40.3
1960–1961 37.3
1961–1962 Wagon Train
1962–1963 The Beverly Hillbillies
1963–1964 39.1
1964–1965 Bonanza
1965–1966 31.8
1966–1967 29.1
1967–1968 The Andy Griffith Show
1968–1969 Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
1969–1970 26.3
1970–1971 Marcus Welby, M.D.
1971–1972 All in the Family
1972–1973 33.3
1973–1974 31.2
1974–1975 30.2
1975–1976 30.1
1976–1977 Happy Days
1977–1978 Laverne & Shirley 31.6
1978–1979 30.5
1979–1980 60 Minutes
1980–1981 Dallas 34.5
1981–1982 28.4
1982–1983 60 Minutes 25.5
1983–1984 Dallas 25.7
1984–1985 Dynasty
1985–1986 The Cosby Show
1986–1987 34.9
1987–1988 27.8
1988–1989 25.6
1989–1990 23.1
1990–1991 Cheers
1991–1992 60 Minutes
1993–1994 20.9
1994–1995 Seinfeld
1995–1996 ER 22.0
1996–1997 21.2
1997–1998 Seinfeld 21.7
1998–1999 ER 17.8
1999–2000 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?—Tuesdays
2000–2001 Survivor: The Australian Outback
2001–2002 Friends
2002–2003 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
2003–2004 15.9
2004–2005 16.5
2005–2006 American Idol—Tuesday
2006–2007 American Idol—Wednesday 17.3
2007–2008 American Idol—Tuesday 16.1
2008–2009 American Idol—Wednesday 15.1
2009–2010 American Idol—Tuesday 13.7
2010–2011 American Idol—Wednesday 14.5
2011–2012 Sunday Night Football
2012–2013 NCIS
2013–2014 Sunday Night Football
2014–2015 Sunday Night Football
2015–2016 NCIS
2016–2017 The Big Bang Theory 11.5
2017–2018 11.1

Television network ratings by year

(total viewership, exclusive of demographics)

Total View Rank Network 2017 views[43] 2016 views[44] 2015 views[45] 2014 views[45]
#1 CBS 7,996,000 8,814,000 9,419,000 9,375,000
#2 NBC 7,284,000 8,426,000 7,757,000 8,264,000
#3 ABC 5,592,000 6,325,000 6,894,000 6,838,000
#4 FOX 4,733,000 5,053,000 5,198,000 5,973,000

See also


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Further reading

External links

List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an American television series created by Joss Whedon, which premiered on March 10, 1997. It concluded on May 20, 2003, after seven seasons with 144 episodes in total, plus an unaired pilot episode.

The first five seasons aired on The WB, and in 2001, it transferred to UPN for its final two seasons. In the United Kingdom, the entire series aired on Sky1 and BBC Two, and on TV3 in Ireland. The story line is continued in comic book form in Season 8, Season 9, Season 10, and Season 11.

All seven seasons of the series are available on individual DVD box sets for Regions 1, 2 and 4. Two complete series collections (The Chosen Collection and The Complete DVD Collection) have been released separately for these regions.

List of Seinfeld episodes

Seinfeld is an American television sitcom created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Seinfeld is a "show about nothing," similar to the self-parodying "show within a show" of fourth-season episode "The Pilot." Jerry Seinfeld is the lead character and played as a fictionalized version of himself. Set predominantly in an apartment block on New York City's Upper West Side, the show features a host of Jerry's friends and acquaintances, which include George Costanza, Elaine Benes, and Cosmo Kramer, who are portrayed by Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards, respectively.The series debuted on July 5, 1989, on NBC, as The Seinfeld Chronicles. The pilot episode met with poor reviews, and as a result, NBC passed on the show. However, NBC executive Rick Ludwin believed the series had potential. He therefore gave Seinfeld a budget to create four more episodes, which formed the rest of season 1 and began airing on May 31, 1990. The first season is considered the smallest sitcom order in television history. During its nine-year run, 180 episodes of Seinfeld were produced. The count includes both halves of three one-hour episodes, including the finale, and two retrospective episodes, each split into two parts: "The Highlights of 100", covering the first 100 episodes; and "The Clip Show", also known as "The Chronicle", which aired before the series finale. On November 25, 2004, a special titled The Seinfeld Story was broadcast. This marked the first appearance of Seinfeld on NBC since its series finale in 1998. All nine seasons are available on DVD and, as of 2019, the show is still re-run regularly in syndication. The final episode aired on May 14, 1998.

List of The Simpsons episodes (seasons 1–20)

The Simpsons is an American animated television sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. It is a satirical depiction of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its eponymous family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, and television, as well as many aspects of the human condition. The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a pitch for a series of animated shorts with producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of the Fox series The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime-time show that was an early hit for Fox.Since its debut on December 17, 1989, The Simpsons has broadcast 659 episodes. The show holds several American television longevity records. It is the longest-running prime-time animated series and longest-running sitcom in the United States. On February 19, 2012, The Simpsons reached its 500th episode in the twenty-third season. With its twenty-first season (2009–10), the series surpassed Gunsmoke in seasons to claim the spot as the longest-running American prime-time scripted television series, and later also surpassed Gunsmoke in episode count with the episode "Forgive and Regret" on April 29, 2018.Episodes of The Simpsons have won dozens of awards, including 31 Emmy Awards (with ten for Outstanding Animated Program), 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. The Simpsons Movie, a feature-length film, was released in theaters worldwide on July 26 and 27, 2007 and grossed US$526.2 million worldwide. The first eighteen seasons are available on DVD in regions 1, 2, and 4, with the twentieth season released on both DVD and Blu-ray in 2010 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series. On April 8, 2015, showrunner Al Jean announced that there would be no more DVD or Blu-ray releases, shifting focus to digital distribution, although this was later reversed on July 22, 2017.On November 4, 2016, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 29 and 30. It reached its 600th episode on October 16, 2016, in its twenty-eighth season. The thirtieth season premiered on September 30, 2018. On February 6, 2019, The Simpsons was renewed for seasons 31 and 32, in which the latter will contain the 700th episode.

List of The X-Files episodes

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Many mythology collections of The X-Files episodes have been released on DVD. Since 2000, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has distributed all seasons on DVD, and episodes are also available for download at the iTunes Store and Amazon Video, and are available for streaming on Hulu. The show's episodes have won a number of awards, including three Golden Globe Awards for Best Drama Series and a Satellite Award for Best Drama Series. Various cast members' performances have been praised by critics, particularly those of Duchovny and Anderson.

Marcus Welby, M.D.

Marcus Welby, M.D. is an American medical drama television program that aired Tuesdays at 10:00–11:00 p.m. (EST) on ABC from September 23, 1969, to July 29, 1976. It starred Robert Young as the title character, a family practitioner with a kind bedside manner, who was on a first name basis with many of his patients (and who also made house-calls), James Brolin, as Steve Kiley, M.D, a younger doctor who played Welby's partner, and Elena Verdugo, who played Welby and Kiley's dedicated and loving nurse and office manager, Consuelo Lopez. Marcus Welby, M.D., was produced by David Victor and David J. O'Connell. The pilot, A Matter of Humanities, had aired as an ABC Movie of the Week on March 26, 1969.

NCIS (TV series)

NCIS is an American action police procedural television series, revolving around a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The concept and characters were initially introduced in two episodes of the CBS series JAG (season eight episodes 20 and 21: "Ice Queen" and "Meltdown"). The show, a spin-off from JAG, premiered on September 23, 2003, on CBS. To date it has aired fifteen full seasons and has gone into broadcast syndication on the USA Network. Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill are co-creators and executive producers of the premiere member of the NCIS franchise. It is the second-longest-running scripted, non-animated U.S. primetime TV series currently airing, surpassed only by Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999–present), and is the 7th-longest-running scripted U.S. primetime TV series overall.

NCIS was originally referred to as Navy NCIS during season one; "Navy" was later dropped from the title as it was redundant (the "N" in "NCIS" stands for "Naval"). In season six, a two-part episode led to a spin-off series, NCIS: Los Angeles. A two-part episode during the eleventh season led to a second spin-off series, NCIS: New Orleans. While initially slow in the ratings, barely cracking the Top 30 in the first two seasons, the third season showed progress, consistently ranking in the top 20, and by its sixth season, it became a top five hit, having remained there since. In 2011, NCIS was voted America's favorite television show in an online Harris Poll. The series finished its tenth season as the most-watched television series in the U.S. during the 2012–13 TV season. On April 11, 2019, NCIS was renewed for a seventeenth season, Diona Reasonover joined the main cast in season sixteen, following the departures of Duane Henry and Pauley Perrette.

National Basketball Association on television

The National Basketball Association is shown on national television on broadcast channel ABC, cable networks ESPN and TNT, as well as the NBA TV network. The NBA is also shown on multiple regional sports networks. Currently, ESPN shows doubleheaders on Wednesday and Friday nights, while TNT shows doubleheaders on Thursday and Tuesday nights. In the second half of the season, ABC shows a single game on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. Games are shown almost every night on NBA TV. There are some exceptions to this schedule, including Tip-off Week, Christmas Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. More games may be shown as the end of the regular season approaches, particularly games with playoff significance. During the playoffs, the first and second rounds are split between TNT, ESPN, NBA TV, and ABC on the weekends. The conference finals are split between ESPN and TNT; the two networks alternate which complete series they will carry from year to year. The entire NBA Finals is shown nationally on ABC. The NBA Finals is one of the few sporting events to be shown on a national broadcast network on a weeknight.


Roseanne is an American television sitcom starring Roseanne Barr and revolving around the fictional Conner family. It aired on ABC from October 18, 1988, to May 20, 1997, and again from March 27, 2018 to May 22, 2018. Lauded for its realistic portrayal of a working-class American family, the series reached No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings from 1989 to 1990.

The original series remained in the top four for six of its nine seasons, and in the top 20 for eight. During the short-lived revival, the series reached No. 3, with an average of 18 million viewers per episode within the span of its nine episodes. In 1993, the episode "A Stash from the Past" was ranked No. 21 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time. In 2002, Roseanne was ranked No. 35 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In 2013, it was ranked No. 32 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time.On May 16, 2017, ABC announced it had greenlit a revived, 10th season of Roseanne as a mid-season replacement in 2018, with the original cast returning. In November 2017, ABC requested an additional episode, bringing the total to nine. It premiered on March 27, 2018, to an initial audience of 18.44 million, which grew to 27.26 million total viewers following 7 days of delayed viewing. On March 30, 2018, following the success of its premiere, Roseanne was renewed for an eleventh season of thirteen episodes.

ABC reversed its renewal decision and canceled Roseanne on May 29, 2018 after Barr likened former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett to Planet of the Apes, in a comment considered racist on Twitter which was described by the network's president as being "abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values." On June 21, 2018, ABC announced plans to re-tool the show as a spin-off involving the Conner family without Roseanne Barr, entitled The Conners. The new program premiered in October 2018.


Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that ran for nine seasons on NBC, from 1989 to 1998. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, with the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself. Set predominantly in an apartment building in Manhattan's Upper West Side in New York City, the show features a handful of Jerry's friends and acquaintances, including best friend George Costanza (Jason Alexander), friend and former girlfriend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and neighbor across the hall Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards). It is often described as being "a show about nothing", as many of its episodes are about the minutiae of daily life.Seinfeld was produced by West-Shapiro Productions and Castle Rock Entertainment. In syndication, the series has been distributed by Columbia TriStar Television Distribution and since 2002, Sony Pictures Television. It was largely written by David and Seinfeld with script writers who included Larry Charles, Peter Mehlman, Gregg Kavet, Carol Leifer, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer, Steve Koren, Jennifer Crittenden, Tom Gammill, Max Pross, Dan O'Keefe, Charlie Rubin, Marjorie Gross, Alec Berg, Elaine Pope, and Spike Feresten. A favorite among critics, the series led the Nielsen ratings in seasons six and nine, and finished among the top two (with NBC's ER) every year from 1994 to 1998.

Seinfeld is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms of all-time. It has been ranked among the best television shows of all time in publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and TV Guide. The show's most renowned episodes include "The Chinese Restaurant", "The Parking Garage", and "The Contest". In 2013, the Writers Guild of America voted it the No. 2 Best Written TV Series of All Time (second to The Sopranos). E! named the series the "Number 1 reason the '90s ruled", and quotes from numerous episodes have become catchphrases in popular culture.

Seinfeld (season 6)

Season six of Seinfeld, an American comedy television series created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, began airing on September 22, 1994, and concluded on May 18, 1995, on NBC. Season six placed first in the Nielsen ratings, above Home Improvement and ER.

Seinfeld (season 7)

Season seven of Seinfeld, an American comedy television series created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, began airing on September 21, 1995, and concluded on May 16, 1996, on NBC.

Seinfeld (season 8)

Season eight of Seinfeld, an American comedy television series created by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, began airing on September 19, 1996, and concluded on May 15, 1997, on NBC.

Seinfeld (season 9)

The ninth and final season of Seinfeld, began airing on September 25, 1997, and concluded on May 14, 1998, on NBC.

The Futon Critic

The Futon Critic is a website that provides articles and information regarding prime time programming on broadcast and cable networks in the United States. The site publishes reviews of prime time programming and interviews of people in the television industry, as well as republishing Nielsen ratings data reports and press releases provided by television networks. The Futon Critic was founded by Brian Ford Sullivan in 1997.

The Simpsons (season 5)

The Simpsons' fifth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 30, 1993 and May 19, 1994. The showrunner for the fifth production season was David Mirkin who executive produced 20 episodes. Al Jean and Mike Reiss executive produced the remaining two, which were both hold overs that were produced for the previous season. The season contains some of the series' most acclaimed and popular episodes, including "Cape Feare", "Homer Goes to College" and "Rosebud". It also includes the 100th episode, "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Baadasssss Song". The season was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards and won an Annie Award for Best Animated Television Program as well as an Environmental Media Award and a Genesis Award. The DVD box set was released in Region 1 on December 21, 2004, Region 2 on March 21, 2005, and Region 4 on March 23, 2005.

The Simpsons (season 6)

The Simpsons' sixth season originally aired on the Fox network between September 4, 1994, and May 21, 1995, and consists of 25 episodes. The Simpsons is an animated series about a working class family, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional city of Springfield, and lampoons American culture, society, television and many aspects of the human condition. Season 6 was the highest rated season of the series.The showrunner for the sixth production season was David Mirkin who executive-produced 23 episodes. Former showrunners Al Jean and Mike Reiss produced the remaining two; they produced the two episodes with the staff of The Critic, the show they left The Simpsons to create. This was done in order to relieve some of the stress The Simpsons' writing staff endured, as they felt that producing 25 episodes in one season was too much. The episode "A Star Is Burns" caused some controversy among the staff with Matt Groening removing his name from the episode's credits as he saw it as blatant advertising for The Critic, which Fox had picked up for a second season after being cancelled by ABC and with which Groening had no involvement. Fox moved The Simpsons back to its original Sunday night time, having aired on Thursdays for the previous four seasons. It has remained in this slot ever since. The sixth season won one Primetime Emmy Award (for the episode "Lisa's Wedding"), and received three additional nominations. It also won the Annie Award for Best Animated Television Production.

The Complete Sixth Season DVD was released in the United States on August 16, 2005, September 28, 2005, in Australia, and October 17, 2005, in the United Kingdom. The set featured a plastic "clam-shell" Homer-head design and received many complaints. In the United States, the set contained a slip of paper informing purchasers how to request alternate packaging — which consisted of a case-sleeve in a similar style to the standard box design — for only a shipping and handling fee.

The X-Files (season 1)

The first season of the science fiction television series The X-Files commenced airing on the Fox network in the United States on September 10, 1993, and concluded on the same channel on May 13, 1994, after airing all 24 episodes.

The first season introduced main characters of the series, including Fox Mulder and Dana Scully who were portrayed by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, respectively, and recurring characters Deep Throat, Walter Skinner, and Cigarette Smoking Man. The season introduced the series' main concept, revolving around the investigation of paranormal or supernatural cases, known as X-Files, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; it also began to lay the groundwork for the series' overarching mythology.

Initially influenced by Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Twilight Zone, series creator Chris Carter pitched the idea for the series to Fox twice before it was accepted for production. The season saw the series quickly gaining popularity, with ratings rising steadily throughout its run; and garnered generally positive reviews from critics and the media. It helped to make stars of its two lead roles, and several of its taglines and catchphrases have since become cultural staples.

The X-Files (season 2)

The second season of the science fiction television series The X-Files commenced airing on the Fox network in the United States on September 16, 1994, concluded on the same channel on May 19, 1995, after airing all 25 episodes. The series follows Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, portrayed by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson respectively, who investigate paranormal or supernatural cases, known as X-Files by the FBI.

The second season of The X-Files takes place after the closure of the department following the events of the first season finale. In addition to stand-alone "Monster-of-the-Week" episodes, several episodes also furthered the alien conspiracy mythology that had begun to form. Season two introduced several recurring characters—X (Steven Williams), an informant to Mulder; Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea), Mulder's partner-turned-enemy; and the Alien Bounty Hunter (Brian Thompson), a shape-shifting assassin.

The storylines were widely affected by the pregnancy of actress Gillian Anderson; it was decided that Scully would be kidnapped and abducted by aliens, explaining her absence and allowing her to appear comatose two episodes later, which ultimately added more intricacies to the mythology. The season earned seven Primetime Emmy Award nominations. The premiere "Little Green Men", debuted with a Nielsen household rating of 10.3 and was viewed by 9.8 million households, marking a noticeable increase in viewership since the previous year. The series rose from number 111 to number 63 for the 1994–95 television year. In addition, the show's second season has generally received positive reviews from television critics.

Nielsen Media Research top-rated United States network television show

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