ABC leads in ratings among upscale young adults

‘Modern Family’ and modern viewers
“Modern Family” is popular among the young and affluent. Here, Ed O’Neill is in a scene from the sitcom.
(Peter “Hopper” Stone / AP)

What do the wealthy young people watch? Apparently, a lot of “Modern Family,” “Big Bang Theory” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Counting the first three weeks of the fall TV season, those are the top-rated broadcast shows among upscale young adults, according to data from Nielsen. In this context, “upscale young adults” are people in the key 18-49 age demographic in homes with a yearly income of $100,000 or more. 

With shows including “Modern Family” and the new “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” ABC is leading among the major broadcast networks in a demographic that is attractive to advertisers. Not including sports programming, ABC has a 3.41 rating, followed by NBC with a 3.05, CBS with a 2.98 and Fox with a 2.63. Here, a ratings point equals 354,450 viewers.

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ABC also leads among 18-49 viewers in households making $150,000 or more. 

“Modern Family,” now in its fifth season, tops the list with a 9.04, while CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” is the first runner-up at 8.79. Among the new fall offerings, “S.H.I.E.L.D.” comes in first with a 6.82, followed by CBS’ “The Blacklist,” the FBI drama starring James Spader.

Also with “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and the new “Super Fun Night” in the mix, ABC has five of the top 10 shows among young wealthy viewers.

In the top 15 upscale shows, NBC is represented by “The Blacklist” and twice by “The Voice,” which airs on Mondays and Tuesdays.  


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Besides “Big Bang Theory,” CBS counts “How I Met Your Mother,” “The Crazy Ones” and “The Millers." 

Fox’s highest-rated show in this economically comfortable demo is its new series “Sleepy Hollow,” a modern update on Washington Irving’s Ichabod Crane, at No. 12 with a rating of 4.41, followed by “New Girl." 

Here is the full top-15:

  1. “MODERN FAMILY” (ABC), 9.04.
  2. “BIG BANG THEORY” (CBS), 8.79.
  3. “MARVEL AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D” (ABC), 6.82.
  4. “BLACKLIST” (NBC), 5.95.
  5. “GREY’S ANATOMY” (ABC), 5.86.
  6. “VOICE” (NBC), 5.76.
  7. “HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER” (CBS), 5.62.
  8. “SCANDAL” (ABC), 5.17.
  9. “VOICE (TUE)” (NBC), 4.84.
  10. “SUPER FUN NIGHT” (ABC), 4.48.
  11. “THE CRAZY ONES” (CBS), 4.47.
  12. “SLEEPY HOLLOW” (FOX), 4.41.
  13. “NEW GIRL” (FOX), 4.32.
  14. “NASHVILLE” (ABC), 4.25.
  15. “THE MILLERS” (CBS), 4.16.


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