The 10 most popular TV shows of the year so far, according to Nielsen ratings


Several of the most popular TV series this year have been established favourites like “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Voice,” and “NCIS.”

But the surprise hit of the year is ABC’s reboot of “Roseanne,” a program that drew many millions of viewers each week along with controversy from its firebrand, Trump-supporting lead, Roseanne Barr. That controversy ultimately led to the show’s cancellation.

The “Roseanne” spin-off, “The Conners,” premiered this week to 10.5 million viewers. That’s a far cry from the “Roseanne” premiere in March, which attracted 18 million viewers, but it’s still a hit for ABC.

To find out which shows were the most popular this year so far, Nielsen estimated the average number of US viewers tuning in to regularly scheduled programming.

ABC’s massive success with “Roseanne,” along with CBS’ high ratings across numerous shows on this list, demonstrates how broadcast networks remain the heavyweights in overall viewership – even in the age of streaming.

Here are the 10 most popular TV shows of 2018 so far, according to Nielsen’s ratings:

10. “The Voice” (NBC) — 12.5 million


Series run: 14 seasons (2011-present)

Summary:“Singers square off for a coveted recording contract in this reality talent contest from the producers of ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Survivor.’ Four vocal coaches mentor the contestants.”

9. “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS) — 12.7 million average viewers


Series run: 4 seasons (2014-present)

Summary:“A drama about the local field office that investigates criminal cases involving military personnel in The Big Easy, a city known for its music, entertainment and decadence.”

8. “Blue Bloods” (CBS) — 13.2 million average viewers


Series run: 8 seasons (2010-present)

Summary:“A drama about a multi-generational family of cops dedicated to New York City law enforcement.”

7. “Bull” (CBS) — 14.7 million average viewers


Series run: 2 seasons (2016-present)

Summary:“Stars Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull in a drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw, the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time.”

6. “The Good Doctor” (ABC) — 15.8 million average viewers


Series run: 1 season (2017-present)

Summary:“Freddie Highmore plays Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, relocates from a quiet country life to join a prestigious hospital’s surgical unit.”

5. “Young Sheldon” (CBS) — 16.5 million average viewers

Robert Voets/CBS

Series run: 1 season (2017-present)

Summary:“Follows the 9-year-old Sheldon Cooper as he navigates living with his family in East Texas and going to high school.”

4. “NCIS” (CBS) — 17.09 million average viewers


Series run: 15 seasons (2003-present)

Summary:“‘NCIS’ (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is more than just an action drama. With liberal doses of humour, it’s a show that focuses on the sometimes complex and always amusing dynamics of a team forced to work together in high-stress situations.”

3. “This Is Us” (NBC) — 18.3 million average viewers


Series run: 2 seasons (2016-present)

Summary:“Everyone has a family. And every family has a story. ‘This Is Us’ chronicles the Pearson family across the decades.”

2. “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) — 18.7 million average viewers


Series run: 11 seasons (2007-present)

Summary:“Leonard and Sheldon are brilliant physicists – geniuses in the laboratory but socially challenged everywhere else. Enter beautiful, street-smart neighbour Penny, who aims to teach them a thing or two about life.”

1. “Roseanne” (ABC) — 23.2 million average viewers


Series run: 10 seasons (1988-1997; 2018)

Summary:“Explore life, death and everything in between through the relatable, hilarious and brutally honest lens of the Conner household.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.