As the 2022-23 TV season heads into its winter hiatus, we’re getting a look at where the broadcast networks stand among Black viewers and the top 10 has some interesting revelations. Led by strong Nielsen ratings performances from The Equalizer and East New York, CBS is the top broadcast network with Black audiences.
Per an exclusive report provided to The Root, based on Nielsen’s most current numbers from Sept. 19 to Nov. 6, CBS has eight of the top 10 shows among Black households with more than two people. The Neighborhood and Bob Hearts Abishola lead the way for comedies, with the Monday night hits ranking as the only two sitcoms in the top 10. Queen Latifah’s action drama The Equalizer takes the top spot, followed by East New York, FBI, NBC’s Chicago PD and the long-running news program 60 Minutes. As you may have gathered, this list does not include sports or special events like awards shows.
Taking a deeper look at the top 30, there are a surprising amount of procedurals represented, with FBI: International, FBI: Most Wanted, NCIS: Los Angeles and the Law & Order franchise all delivering strong numbers. While it’s true that there are a lot of cop shows on TV, the fact that they’re rated so high with Black audiences is a bit of a shock. Of course, we all know that once you get to a certain point in an episode of Law & Order, NCIS or FBI, you have to stick around and find out who the killer is.
In a stunning turn of events, you have to head all the way to No. 16 to find ABC’s hit Abbott Elementary, which is nearly tied with FOX’s Angela Bassett first responder drama 9-1-1. In fact, there are only three comedies in the top 20, showing how broadcast networks have moved away from the genre this season. It also highlights the lack of diversity in the four major networks’ comedy series.
While broadcast TV still has more work to do in diversity and inclusion, it’s great to see that series featuring Black women are leading the pack. And as much as I love them, I wish there was a little more variety involved, so the list isn’t so procedural heavy. I’d also like to know how things work out when cable/streaming are put in the mix.