Fox's American Idol was the nation's most-watch prime-time program for the eighth consecutive year, and CBS wound up as the most-watched broadcast network for the eighth time in nine years, according to full-season Nielsen figures released Wednesday.
In addition, Fox won its seventh straight year among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds.
Viewership declined during the 2010-11 season for each of the Big 4 TV networks. CBS averaged 11.6 million viewers in prime-time (down 2 percent), Fox 9.8 million (down 2 percent), ABC 8.5 million (down 1 percent) and NBC 7 million (down 15 percent). On the flip side, Spanish-language network Univision had a prime-time audience increase of 6 percent season to season.
After Idol, the next most popular shows were ABC's Dancing With the Stars, NBC's Sunday Night Football and CBS' NCIS. New shows that made the top 20 were ABC's Body of Proof (No. 15), CBS' Blue Bloods (No. 18) and NBC's The Voice (No. 20). The latter will get the plum time slot after the Super Bowl next year.
ABC's Modern Family had the biggest audience growth among prime-time shows, attracting 11.8 million viewers in its second year (up 24 percent).
All told, there was a high attrition rate for new shows, something to keep in mind while still in the blush of the network upfronts: Only five out of 23 are returning this fall.