Nielsen list illustrates power of franchises for networks

Broadcast television networks, inundated with competition from cable and streaming services, have learned the power of franchises

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With the broadcast television season winding down and most scripted series about to go into hibernation for the summer, it's instructive to look at the power of network franchises.

Of the Nielsen company's 20 most popular scripted series on the air last week, 12 were parts of franchises — the three “Chicago” dramas on NBC, the three “FBI” shows on CBS, for example. That's without counting the CBS comedy “Young Sheldon,” even though it began life as a spinoff to “The Big Bang Theory.”

At a time viewers are inundated with choices, particularly on the streaming services, broadcast networks have taken the power of these ideas to heart, knowing that their viewers will be attracted to familiar concepts and storylines.

That's primed to continue, since ABC announced on Tuesday they will be trying to create a new franchise out of their drama “The Rookie,” with a spinoff due in the fall.

CBS won the week in prime time television, averaging 4.2 million viewers. NBC had 3.2 million viewers, ABC had 2.8 million, Fox had 2 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Ion Television had 950,000 and Telemundo had 830,000.

Behind NBA playoff games, TNT led the cable networks with a 3.36 million viewer average. Fox News Channel had 2.2 million, ESPN had 2.06 million, MSNBC had 956,000 and HGTV had 927,000.

ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race with an average of 7.5 million viewers. NBC's “Nightly News” averaged 6.2 million viewers and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.5 million.

For the week of May 9-15, the top 20 prime-time shows, their networks and viewerships:

1. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.44 million.

2. “FBI,” CBS, 7.16 million.

3. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 6.93 million.

4. “The Equalizer,” CBS, 6.84 million.

5. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 6.61 million.

6. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 6.31 million.

7. NBA Playoffs: Dallas at Phoenix (Sunday), Turner, 6.29 million.

8. NBA Playoffs: Memphis at Golden State (Friday), ESPN, 6.28 million.

9. “FBI: International,” CBS, 5.82 million.

10. “American Idol,” ABC, 5.57 million.

11. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 5.534 million.

12. NBA Playoffs: Boston at Milwaukee (Friday), ESPN, 5.529 million.

13. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 5.48 million.

14. “Survivor,” CBS, 5.35 million.

15. “NCIS: Los Angeles,” CBS, 5.33 million.

16. “911,” Fox, 5.3 million.

17. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 5.28 million.

18. NBA Playoffs: Memphis at Golden State (Monday), Turner, 5.28 million.

19. “Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 5.14 million.

20. NBA Playoffs: Boston at Milwaukee (Monday), Turner, 5.03 million.

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