Spanish-Language Network Univision Ranks 3rd In U.S. Ratings

The latest TV ratings are out and CBS captured the top spot with help from its Super Bowl broadcast. Last fall, NBC was No. 1 but now it's fourth. What's surprising is that Spanish-language network Univision has surpassed NBC's ratings.

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NBC has had a terrible ratings period, but the news here is not so much the network's decline as the primary language spoken on a network that passed NBC. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has more on TV's February sweeps, starting with the network that, for the moment, is number one.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: CBS broadcast this year's Super Bowl.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The Super Bowl belongs to Baltimore.

BARCO: And with that, the network easily swept the February ratings competition for the coveted TV viewing adult audiences, aged 18 to 49. It's the first time that's happened for CBS since 1998. Last fall, NBC was number one in the ratings, boosted by its NFL Sunday night football broadcasts, and the singing competition "The Voice."


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (singing) Yeah, yeah, yeah...

BARCO: But with those two shows over for the season, the peacock network has fallen to number five.

BILL GORMAN: That their audiences fell so dramatically, that was pretty surprising.

BARCO: Bill Gorman is cofounder of, a website that tracks the ratings and news of the TV industry. He says what was also somewhat surprising was that Univision passed NBC in the ratings.

GORMAN: They're spending more on programming, they get better marketing, their audience is growing. Univision has been closing the gap for quite some time with the English language broadcast networks. And they were close enough this season, so that when NBC fell as much as they did, Univision caught them, passed them.

BARCO: This is a first for a non-English language network, and Univision has been boasting about it on TV and online.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The number one network for Hispanic Americans now beats NBC. Univision is the one for telenovelas, the one for news, the one for sports.

BARCO: And Gorman says it's the one he'll be watching out for to do even better with its fast growing demographic. Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

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