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TV Critic’s Corner

Among 2018’s top-rated shows, sports was the winner

Super Bowl LII, with the Patriots taking on the Eagles, was the most-watched telecast of 2018.Jeff Roberson/AP/file

On the Nielsen list of most-watched prime-time television during 2018, the NFL was, as usual, the big winner. It took 32 slots on the top 100, including the Super Bowl, which was the biggest telecast of the year with 104 million viewers.

Indeed, more than two-thirds of the top 100 telecasts were sports-related, including the Winter Olympics and the World Series.

But a few episodes of regular TV series made it onto the list, most notably NBC’s “This Is Us,” which made it to No. 3 for the episode “Super Bowl Sunday.” Of course, that episode, which drew 33 million total viewers wanting to find out more about Jack’s death, picked up plenty of eyes from its lead-in, the Super Bowl.


That hour of “This Is Us” rated higher on the list than all of the major awards shows. The Oscars landed at No. 7 (with 26.5 million viewers), the Grammys were at No. 22 (with 19.8 million), and the Golden Globes were at No. 27 (with 19 millon).

Most of the TV series were in the bottom half of the list. “The Big Bang Theory” continued to dominate, with 14 episodes in the top 100, with the spinoff “Young Sheldon” registering four episodes. “NCIS” has seven episodes on the list, “60 Minutes” has five (its biggest was the March Stormy Daniels interview), and “Roseanne” has four.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.