These are the 10 most popular TV shows of the year, according to Nielsen ratings

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young sheldon cbs“Young Sheldon” star Iain Armitage.Robert Voets/CBS

  • The highest-rated television shows of 2017 consisted mainly of fan favorites such as “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory.” 
  • Nielsen tracked the average number of viewers tuning in to regularly scheduled programming to determine which shows were most popular.

The most popular series this year were mainly comprised of long-standing fan favorites such as “NCIS,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and of course “Sunday Night Football,” according to Nielsen data.

There were two new series, “Young Sheldon” and “The Good Doctor,” that managed to rack up some astonishingly high ratings this year, making them two of the most popular new TV shows of 2017.

In order to find out which shows where the most popular this year, Nielsen tracked the average number of viewers tuning in to regularly scheduled programming.

These are the 10 most popular TV shows of 2017, according to ratings:

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10. “Bull” (CBS) – 14.4 million average viewers

10. "Bull" (CBS) - 14.4 million average viewers


The abrasive yet charming Dr. Jason Bull (Michael Weatherly) runs a successful trail consulting firm, where he and his employees use psychology, human intuition, and high tech data to analyze trials.

9. “America’s Got Talent,” Wednesday night broadcast (NBC) – 14.6 million average viewers

9. "America's Got Talent," Wednesday night broadcast (NBC) - 14.6 million average viewers

Mandy Harvey performing on the “America’s Got Talent” finale.NBCUniversal

Celebrities judge a diverse group of performers, singers, acrobats, and everything in between to see who will be crowned the winner of “America’s Got Talent.”

8. “The Walking Dead” (AMC) – 14.7 million average viewers

8. "The Walking Dead" (AMC) - 14.7 million average viewers

Gene Page/AMC

Survivors of a zombie apocalypse band together to stay alive and destroy any and all zombies that come their way.

7. “America’s Got Talent,” Tuesday night broadcast (NBC) – 16 million average viewers

7. "America's Got Talent," Tuesday night broadcast (NBC) - 16 million average viewers

America’s Got Talent/Facebook

This popular talent competition aired twice a week this year, and ended up pulling in big ratings both nights. 

6. “This is Us” (NBC) – 16.5 million average viewers

6. "This is Us" (NBC) - 16.5 million average viewers

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

This NBC drama follows the lives of the Pearson family, both in the past and present day.

5. “NCIS” (CBS) – 17.7 million average viewers

5. "NCIS" (CBS) - 17.7 million average viewers

Patti Perret/CBS

The NCIS team investigates a wide range of crimes, from homicides to terrorism, in this hour-long procedural. 

4. “Young Sheldon” (CBS) – 17.7 million average viewers

4. "Young Sheldon" (CBS) - 17.7 million average viewers

“Young Sheldon” star Iain Armitage.Robert Voets/CBS

“The Big Bang Theory” spin-off series follows a precocious 9-year-old, Sheldon Cooper, as he starts high school and struggles to be understood by both his classmates and family. 

3. “The Good Doctor” (ABC) – 17.9 million average viewers

3. "The Good Doctor" (ABC) - 17.9 million average viewers


Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), is a young surgeon with autism who joins a reputable hospital’s surgical unit. 

2. “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) – 18.5 million average viewers

2. "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS) - 18.5 million average viewers

“The Big Bang Theory” stars, from left, Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, and Kunal Nayyar.Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.

A group of friends, bonded by their love of all things science, go through the ups and downs of their careers and romantic relationships together.

1. “NBC Sunday Night Football” (NBC) – 18.5 million average viewers

1. "NBC Sunday Night Football" (NBC) - 18.5 million average viewers

Rob Carr/Getty

A weekly broadcast of NFL Football games.

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