Ratings Archive

     Welcome to my archive of Nielsen Ratings! This has been a project of mine since June of 2015, and my goal is archive all of ratings for every episode of every broadcast series and as many cable series as possible from 1981-2019. April 1981 was the first time that full-week broadcast ratings were published, and 2019 is a completely arbitrary end-date, but having this 38-year constraint makes this project feel possible. January 20, 2019 is the upper-bound for this archive, but beginning in late-May 2020 I decided to also resume posting current weekly ratings data. 

    I originally was never going to post the ratings for fall 1989 through 1997 because they were already posted over at the TV Aholics blog; however, as of mid-2020, the blog has ceased to be updated and the links to the USA Today Archives from February 4, 1991 through 1997 are all dead. Fortunately I did have copies of them all and I have added them all here. 

     There are 2 parts of this archive, the first of which is an archive of individual program ratings, and the second of which is an archive of the weekly ratings organized by TV season. As of right now, the first archive is only being used to archive cable programs, though my current plan is to add ratings for individual broadcast programs at some point in the future. For now, either www.spottedratings.com or Wikipedia are the best resources for episode-by-episode ratings for broadcast programs. My second archive does include both broadcast and cable ratings.

    I will be including actual newspaper/magazine scans in all of the posts for TV seasons prior to 2006-07 with the exception of the 1987-88 & 1988-89 seasons as I do not possess the scans of those. These scans will include the full household (HH) ratings from 1981 through the end of the 1999-00 season, at which point all HH data was acquired from TVTango.com. They will also include the full viewership data from the beginning of the 1989-90 season through the end of the 2005-06 season, and these will come from either USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, or ABC Medianet Press Releases. And finally, they will include full weekly 18-49 data from the beginning of the 1999-00 season through the end of the 2005-06 season and these will come from either The Hollywood Reporter or Variety. Beginning with the 2006-07 season, I used solely internet sources to create these charts, so it is not worth the effort to me to include newspaper or magazine scans.

    The second archive is organized in two different ways. Some seasons have the full weekly ratings in a single post (1981-82 through 1986-87 and 1989-90 through 1997-98), with newspaper/magazine scans embedded into those posts. And other seasons have the ratings provided in a weekly format with a post for each individual week and typed-out charts (1987-88, 1988-89, and 1998-99-present). In the weekly posts prior to 2006-07, there will be a link at the bottom of each post to the newspaper/magazine scans for that specific week.

Data TypeFirst  Available
(week ending)
Full week broadcast ratings 
by Household rating
April 19, 1981
Full week broadcast ratings 
with viewership (P2+) to 1-decimal place (from Nielsen!)
July 31, 1988
Cable ratings by Household rating & number of homesFebruary 22, 1993
Full week broadcast ratings 
with viewership (P2+) to 2-decimal places
January 5, 1997
Top cable ratings by total 
viewers (P2+) instead of homes
March 22, 1998
Full week broadcast ratings
with all 18-49 ratings
September 26, 1999
Broadcast & cable DVR ratings by viewership (P2+)August 26, 2007

Projects in-progress:
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 1999-00 TV season
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 2005-06 TV season
  • Broadcast, cable, & DVR for the 2009-10 TV season
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 2015-16 TV season (broadcast completed, cable completed through w/e May 22, 2016)
  • Broadcast, cable, & DVR for the 2016-17 TV season (broadcast and DVR completed through 1/1/17; cable coming later)
  • Evening News Ratings for 2001-2021 (2006-2009 completed)
  • Add full chart links & HH ratings to the 2003-04 season posts (w/e May 30-Sept 19, 2004 completed)
  • Updating the Ratings Recaps to new formatting (221/344)

Upcoming projects (not in any order):
  • Weekly broadcast ratings posts for summer 2020
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 2000-01 TV season
  • Broadcast, cable, & DVR for the 2010-11 TV season
  • Broadcast, cable, & DVR for the 2014-15 TV season (summer 2015 completed)
  • Late night talk show ratings for 2007-2021

Recently completed projects:
  • Broadcast ratings for the summer 1981 TV season (completed: 7/6/20)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1981-82 TV season (completed: 1/14/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1991-92 TV season (completed: 1/15/21)
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 2006-07 TV season (completed: 1/16/21)
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 1992-93 TV season (completed: 1/17/21)
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 1993-94 TV season (completed: 1/19/21)
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 1994-95 TV season (completed: 1/21/21)
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 1995-96 TV season (completed: 1/24/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1982-83 TV season (completed: 2/4/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1983-84 TV season (completed: 2/7/21)
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 2003-04 TV season (completed: 3/1/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1984-85 TV season (completed: 3/22/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1985-86 TV season (completed: 5/1/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1986-87 TV season (completed: 5/4/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1996-97 TV season (completed: 5/6/21)
  • Broadcast, cable, & DVR for the 2007-08 TV season (completed: 5/11/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1997-98 TV season (completed: 5/23/21)
  • Broadcast, cable, & DVR for the 2008-09 TV season (completed: 5/31/21)
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 1998-99 TV season (completed: 6/30/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1987-88 TV season (completed: 7/24/21)
  • Broadcast, cable, & DVR ratings for the 2017-18 TV season (completed: 8/23/21)
  • Broadcast & cable ratings for the 2004-05 TV season (completed: 8/30/21)
  • Broadcast ratings for the 1988-89 TV season (completed: 9/23/21)
  • Add source data links for the 1998-99 TV season (completed: 10/21/21)

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