It’s May, and for the TV business that means sweeps, the time when ratings matter most because they determine the local advertising rates for the next year. To find out about the TV habits of Chicagoans, we checked out the ratings (according to figures from Nielsen Media Research) to see which shows were the most popular here this past year.

Chicago’s Top Ten

In 2006, eight of the top ten broadcasts (by total audience) in Chicago were Bears games. Only the Super Bowl (#1) and the Academy Awards (#5) cracked the list. But even with a lot of TV watchers here, we still couldn’t save Crumbs from being shelved by the ABC network. Excluding sportscasts, here are Chicago’s top ten prime-time network series of last year:

How We Compare:

Los Angeles*


New York*

[1] American Idol (14.4)

American Idol (15.8)

American Idol (9.8)

[2] Dancing with the Stars (12.5)

Dancing with the Stars (15.4) Dancing with the Stars (7.4)
[3] Ugly Betty (9.6) Desperate Housewives (12.4) 24 (6.1)
[4] Desperate Housewives (9.4) Grey’s Anatomy (12.0) House (5.7)
[5] CSI (9.0) Ugly Betty (11.9) Desperate Housewives (5.5)
[6] Without a Trace (8.7) Brothers & Sisters (10.9)  

Crumbs (5.3)

[7] Grey’s Anatomy (8.6)  Crumbs (9.4)  Ugly Betty (5.3)
[8] House (8.4)  CSI (9.2)  CSI (5.2)
[9] Alborada (8.2)  Six Degrees (9.0)  CSI: Miami (5.0)
[10] Bailando por la Boda de mis Sueños (8.1) Deal or No Deal (9.0) Grey’s Anatomy (4.9)

* A ratings point in Los Angeles is 56,111 homes; in New York, 73,670

Monthly TV Hours Watched in Chicago

Hey, parents! Next time you call your kids “couch potatoes,” look in the mirror first. Grownups, particularly adult women, spend more time in front of the boob tube than their children. And, generally speaking, Chicagoans watch more TV in the winter-except for kids, who typically watch more in the summer, when they’re out of school.
a chart of Chicago's television watching habits
Chicago’s Top Ten Photography: (From Left) © Fox Broadcasting Company; ABC/Adam Larkey; ABC/Andrew Eccles; ABC/Bob D’amico; ABC/Andrew Eccles; Abc/Kevin Foley; ABC/Bob D’amico; Robert Voets/CBS © 2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved; ABC/Bob D’amico; NBC Photo