Most Popular TV Shows of 2023-24, Led By ‘Tracker’ and ‘Survivor’

TV audiences tracked down “Tracker” in a big way this season. The freshman CBS drama, which stars Justin Hartley as a survivalist who helps law enforcement and others solve tough cases, was the 2023-24 TV season’s most-watched entertainment series. According to the Eye network, that’s the first time a first-year TV series was ranked as the No. 1 show since “Survivor” premiered as an instant phenomenon in 2000 (and that was a summer show, so there’s an asterisk on that one).

“Tracker” was helped, of course, by premiering in February behind Super Bowl LVIII — giving it a huge jump start. And this was an unusual, truncated TV season due to the Hollywood strikes, which meant limited episodic orders for most programs. Last year’s top-rated show, Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone,” hasn’t aired an original episode in more than a year — and yet still made the charts, but via repeats that aired this season on CBS.

According to CBS, “Tracker” is the most-watched new series since “Desperate Housewives” in the 2004-05 TV season. For its first seven episodes, the show has averaged 19 million multiplatform viewers across broadcast and streaming over 35-day viewing.

No surprise, football led the season rankers, by way of No. 1 NFL franchise “” on NBC, followed by the return of “Monday Night Football” on ABC. (Combine the “MNF” franchise’s ABC/ESPN simulcast, and that would actually top “SNF.”) Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” was close behind in third place — a unique function of its deal with Nielsen, which measures the franchise as if it were a linear telecast. Meanwhile, with “Monday Night Football” back full time on ABC, that gave the Alphabet net the only season-to-season boost among the Big 4. (Among all broadcasters, Telemundo saw the biggest gains of the year.)

CBS and Fox run football on Sunday afternoons, so those broadcasts aren’t eligible for these primetime charts. But they sure help as solid lead-ins, as “Tracker” and even shows like Fox’s “Krapopolis” (which opened strong in its first few episodes as a football lead-out) can attest.

The most-watched comedy of the year was CBS’ “Young Sheldon,” ending its series run on top (and likely even getting a boost from its popularity on Netflix). In the battle of the music contests, “The Voice” bested “American Idol” in viewers, but “Idol” led in 18-49. And “60 Minutes” kept its top 10 streak going for another year.

Besides “Tracker” and football, here are a few more winners and losers of the just-completed TV season.


“The Golden Bachelor”: Depending on whether you consider it a new show, given its identical format to “The Bachelor,” the ABC series was nonetheless the most-watched new unscripted series of the year — besting the original-recipe “Bachelor” by an average of more than a million viewers. The two editions are virtually tied in the younger demo — but again, that says a lot about the power of the older-focused “Golden” edition.

“Survivor”: The OG still has legs. Among adults 18-49, the CBS competition series is this year’s top-rated entertainment series. Not bad for a show that just ended its 46th edition (and premiered all the way back in 2000).

Game shows: With scripted fare mostly off the air in the fall, there was room for all sorts of primetime gamers in the list of this year’s most-watched shows: “The Price Is Right at Night,” “Celebrity Jeopardy!,” “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” “Password,” “Let’s Make a Deal Prime,” “The $100,000 Pyramid” and more. Fox found big success with “The Floor,” the only fully original format to make this year’s list of 100 most-watched primetime series.


“NCIS Hawai’i”: CBS, you get stink eye for saying pau to this hit series, which was canceled even though it ranks No. 16 in total viewers and was even up year-to-year in viewership. Sure, filming in the islands isn’t cheap, but there should have been a way to make this work.

Basic cable: For most of the 2010s, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” was the most-watched entertainment show in all of TV, broadcast or cable. As recently as last year, “Yellowstone” was the same thing (and the final season of “Walking Dead” still made it in the top 100). This year, just one scripted basic cable show made the list: Hallmark’s “When Calls the Heart,” at No. 89.

Paramount Network: And actually, without the “Yellowstone” phenom this season, Paramount dropped the farthest of any network in the list of 100 broadcast and cable networks, slipping 48%.


America’s most-watched series of the 2023-2024 season are …

RankTitle (Network)VIEWERS (000)
1.NFL Sunday Night Football (NBC)19,838
2.NFL Monday Night Football on ABC (ABC)11,986
3.NFL Thursday Night Football (Amazon Prime)11,973
4.Tracker (CBS)10,799
5.NCIS (CBS)9,660
6.Young Sheldon (CBS)9,101
7.FBI (CBS)8,960
8.Chicago Fire (NBC)8,794
9.Blue Bloods (CBS)8,449
10.60 Minutes (CBS)8,266
11.Ghosts (CBS)8,206
12.Chicago Med (NBC)8,203
13.Chicago PD (NBC)7,959
14.NFL Monday Night Football on ESPN (ESPN)7,916
15.The Equalizer (CBS)7,900
16.NCIS: Hawai’i (CBS)7,788
17.Elsbeth (CBS)7,454
18.FBI: Most Wanted (CBS)7,389
19.Fire Country (CBS)7,332
20.FBI: International (CBS)7,208
21.The Voice (Monday) (NBC)7,143
22.Law & Order: SVU (NBC)6,905
23.The Voice (Tuesday) (NBC)6,891
24.9-1-1 (ABC)6,855
25.Will Trent (ABC)6,738
26.NCIS: Sydney (CBS)6,533
27.Survivor (CBS)6,495
28.So Help Me Todd (CBS)6,184
29.S.W.A.T. (CBS)6,170
30.CSI: Vegas (CBS)6,153
31.The Golden Bachelor (ABC)5,947
32.Irrational (NBC)5,938
33.The Rookie (ABC)5,925
34.Dancing with the Stars (ABC)5,829
35.American Idol (Sunday) (ABC)5,809
36.Law & Order (NBC)5,989
37.The Neighborhood (CBS)5,669
38.Bob Hearts Abishola (CBS)5,332
39.American Idol (Monday) (ABC)5,283
40.Law & Order: Organized Crime (NBC)5,183
41.The Good Doctor (ABC)5,105
42.Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)5,017
43.Found (NBC)4,986
44.Magnum P.I. (NBC)4,884
45.The Price Is Right at Night (Wednesday) (CBS)4,609
46.AGT Fantasy League (NBC)4,565
47.The Amazing Race (CBS)4,554
48.Celebrity Jeopardy! (ABC)4,525
49.Saturday Night Football (ABC)4,444
50.The Masked Singer (Fox)4,409
51.America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC)4,364
52.The Bachelor (ABC)4,327
53.Yellowstone (repeats) (CBS)4,271
54.The Conners (ABC)4,242
55.Station 19 (ABC)4,139
56.Abbott Elementary (ABC)4,032
57.20/20 (ABC)3,938
58.The Price Is Right at Night (Friday) (CBS)3,933
59.Shark Tank (ABC)3,900
60.Night Court (NBC)3,853
61.Big Brother (Tuesday) (CBS)3,851
62.Big Brother (Thursday) (CBS)3,787
63.Deal Or No Deal Island (NBC)3,761
64.Dateline Friday (NBC)3,722
65.NBA Saturday Primetime (ABC)3,720
66.Big Brother (Sunday) (CBS)3,714
67.Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (ABC)3,703
68.The Price Is Right at Night (Monday) (CBS)3,699
69.La Brea (NBC)3,629
70.Quantum Leap (NBC)3,562
71.Dateline Thursday (NBC)3,524
72.The Floor (Fox)3,523
73.48 Hours (CBS)3,359
74.Extended Family (NBC)3,335
75.Let’s Make a Deal Prime (Wednesday) (CBS)3,317
76.Password (NBC)3,272
77.Curse of Oak Island (History)3,263
78.$100,000 Pyramid (ABC)3,250
79.Not Dead Yet (ABC)3,206
80.Next Level Chef (Fox)3,204
81.What Would You Do? (ABC)3,095
82.Hell’s Kitchen (Fox)3,047
Let’s Make a Deal Prime (Friday) (CBS)3,047
84.NBC B1G Saturday Night Football (NBC)3,016
85.Press Your Luck (ABC)3,015
86.Ghosts UK (CBS)2,917
87.Bachelor in Paradise (ABC)2,890
88.The Weakest Link (NBC)2,859
89.When Calls the Heart (Hallmark)2,771
90.Transplant (NBC)2,738
91.Jesse Watters Primetime (Fox News)2,725
92.Raid the Cage (CBS)2,714
93.Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC)2,692
94.The Wall (Friday) (NBC)2,645
95.Farmer Wants a Wife (Fox)2,583
96.WWE Smackdown (Fox)2,581
97.Alert: Missing Persons Unit (Fox)2,549
98.Hannity (Fox News)2,446
99.We Are Family (Fox)2,443
100.Let’s Make a Deal Prime (Monday) (CBS)2,398
Source: Nielsen. 9-11-2023 to 5-12-2024. Preliminary Live+7 Days, Prime, Original telecasts only. Top 100 shown based on P2+. Excludes: Sustainers, sports and entertainment programming with <2 telecasts, Spanish-language programming, playoff games, semi final games, final games children’s networks, sports commentary, specials and movies.

THE 100 TOP-RATED SERIES OF 2023-24 (ADULTS 18-49)

1.NFL Sunday Night Football (NBC)5.2/436,850
2.NFL Thursday Night Football (Amazon Prime)4.2/395,538
3.NFL Monday Night Football on ESPN (ESPN)2.6/233,418
NFL Monday Night Football on ABC (ABC)2.6/233,387
5.Survivor (CBS)1.1/121,399
6.Saturday Night Football (ABC)1.0/111,351
NBA Saturday Primetime (ABC)1.0/131,299
 8.9-1-1 (ABC)0.8/101,118
Chicago PD (NBC)0.8/111,115
 Law & Order: SVU (NBC)0.8/91,104
The Bachelor (ABC)0.8/91,076
 Chicago Fire (NBC)0.8/91,075
Tracker (CBS)0.8/91,065
 The Golden Bachelor (ABC)0.8/71,061
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)0.8/91,041
 Big Brother (Thursday) (CBS)0.8/71,007
 17.60 Minutes (CBS)0.7/7980
 Ghosts (CBS)0.7/8976
Chicago Med (NBC)0.7/8964
 Young Sheldon (CBS)0.7/9955
 Abbott Elementary (ABC)0.7/8953
 WWE Smackdown (Fox)0.7/9950
 Dancing with the Stars (ABC)0.7/8949
 Big Brother (Tuesday) (CBS)0.7/7917
 Big Brother (Sunday) (CBS)0.7/6904
 The Amazing Race (CBS)0.7/8896
 American Idol (Sunday) (ABC)0.7/7867
 FBI (CBS)0.7/8865
 29.The Masked Singer (Fox)0.6/7848
 Next Level Chef (Fox)0.6/7842
 Fire Country (CBS)0.6/7837
NCIS (CBS)0.6/6824
The Voice (Monday) (NBC)0.6/6821
WWE Raw (USA)0.6/6819
Law & Order: Organized Crime (NBC)0.6/8809
The Voice (Tuesday) (NBC)0.6/7801
 The Simpsons (Fox)0.6/6794
 NBC B1G Saturday Night Football (NBC)0.6/7791
 Bachelor in Paradise (ABC)0.6/6776
The Floor (Fox)0.6/6766
 The Equalizer (CBS)0.6/6763
 Fox College Football: Pac12 Prime (Fox)0.6/6752
 The Rookie (ABC)0.6/6745
 Hell’s Kitchen (Fox)0.6/6734
 Found (NBC)0.6/7729
 46.Blue Bloods (CBS)0.5/7720
 Law & Order (NBC)0.5/6716
 S.W.A.T. (CBS)0.5/7715
 American Idol (Monday) (Fox)0.5/6714
 Will Trent (ABC)0.5/6711
 Station 19 (ABC)0.5/6710
 The Neighborhood (CBS)0.5/6710
 FBI: Most Wanted (CBS)0.5/6705
Fox College Football: Big 12 Prime (Fox)0.5/6690
NCIS: Hawai’i (CBS)0.5/6682
 Sister Wives (TLC)0.5/5674
 The Conners (ABC)0.5/6671
 FBI: International (CBS)0.5/6667
 Vanderpump Rules (AMC)0.5/6657
 Celebrity Jeopardy! (ABC)0.5/5657
 College Football Prime (ESPN)0.5/6646
 Challenge: USA (CBS)0.5/5642
 Irrational (NBC)0.5/5627
 Elsbeth (CBS)0.5/6624
 The Price is Right at Night (Wednesday) (CBS)0.5/5621
 Bob’s Burgers (Fox)0.5/4618
 So Help Me Todd (CBS)0.5/5615
 20/20 (ABC)0.5/6614
 CSI: Vegas (CBS)0.5/6604
 America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC)0.5/4603
Dateline Friday (NBC)0.5/5595
 Night Court (NBC)0.5/5594
 Shark Tank (ABC)0.5/6594
 74.Family Guy (Fox)0.4/4593
 Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Bravo)0.4/5578
 The Good Doctor (ABC)0.4/5576
 Quantum Leap (NBC)0.4/5575
 NCIS: Sydney (CBS)0.4/5564
 Deal or No Deal Island (NBC)0.4/5556
 MLB Sunday Night (ESPN)0.4/5553
 AGT Fantasy League (NBC)0.4/4543
 We Are Family (ESPN2)0.4/4538
 Krapopolis (Fox)0.4/4531
 Celebrity Wheel of Fortune (ABC)0.4/4526
 Dateline Thursday (NBC)0.4/4525
 Bob Hearts Abishola (CBS)0.4/4520
 Extended Family (NBC)0.4/4517
 Special Forces (Fox)0.4/3513
 The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion (MTV)0.4/4511
 Magnum P.I. (NBC)0.4/4510
 NBA Wednesday on ABC (ABC)0.4/4504
Kitchen Nightmares (Fox)0.4/3503
 Masterchef Junior (Fox)0.4/4492
 NFL Monday Night Football Manningcast (ESPN2)0.4/3489
 Jersey Shore: Family Vacation (MTV)0.4/4489
 RuPaul’s Drag Race (MTV)0.4/4485
 The Price is Right at Night (Monday) (CBS)0.4/3480
 Not Dead Yet (ABC)0.4/4472
 90 Day Fiancé (TNT)0.4/3470
 Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo)0.4/4467
 Press Your Luck (ABC)0.4/4467
 Let’s Make a Deal Prime (Wednesday) (CBS)0.4/4466
Source: Nielsen. 9-11-2023 to 5-12-2024. Preliminary Live+7 Days, Prime, Original telecasts only. Top 100 shown based on A18-49. Excludes: Sustainers, sports and entertainment programming with <2 telecasts, Spanish-language programming, playoff games, semi final games, final games children’s networks, sports commentary, specials and movies.


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

  1. CBS (5,558,000; down 5%)
  2. NBC (4,796,000; down 8%)
  3. ABC (4,220,000; up 4%)
  4. Fox (3,134,000; down 30%)
  5. Fox News (2,012,000; down 5%)
  6. ESPN (1,999,000; down 8%)
  7. MSNBC (1,219,000; up 3%)
  8. Univision (1,191,000; down 7%)
  9. Telemundo (1,020,000; up 9%)
  10. TNT (968,000; down 4%)
  11. Hallmark (967,000; down 5%)
  12. Ion (947,000; down 2%)
  13. TBS (902,000; up 1%)
  14. HGTV (877,000; down 9%)
  15. History (766,000; down 6%)
  16. Me TV (657,000; up 3%)
  17. TLC (642,000; down 19%)
  18. USA Network (635,000; down 6%)
  19. Food Network (617,000; down 15%)
  20. Discovery Network (612,000; down 15%)
  21. INSP (599,000; down 15%)
  22. CNN (595,000; down 3%)
  23. Grit (520,000; up 14%)
  24. Bravo (510,000; down 7%)
  25. Hallmark Mystery (495,000; up 11%)
  26. Investigation Discovery (475,000; down 11%)
  27. The CW (457,000; down 16%)
  28. TV Land (437,000; down 9%)
  29. Lifetime (392,000; down 16%)
  30. FX (386,000; down 2%)


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

1. CBS — 0.77/6 (1,016,000; up 18%)
2. NBC — 0.71/7 (942,000; down 15%)
3. Fox — 0.68/6 (896,000; down 33%)
4. ABC — 0.65/7 (854,000; up 3%)
5. ESPN — 0.58/6 (766,000; down 8%)
6. TNT — 0.30/3 (396,000; down 6%)
7. Univision — 0.28/3 (367,000; down 23%)
8. Telemundo — 0.23/3 (308,000; down 11%)
9. TBS — 0.22/2 (284,000; down 6%)
10. USA — 0.17/2 (218,000; even)


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