In the words of Michael Scott, “Stay calm, it’s happening!” The Office may not be potentially on fire this time, but the iconic NBC show has taken a hit when it comes to its dominance as a major title within the streaming realm. The beloved sitcom has apparently lost its title as the most-watched series of all time. The title that took the crown is none other than the legal drama Suits, and should we really be surprised that it was the most streamed title of 2023?
Every year, Nielsen -- the official audience measurement system of television viewerships -- tracks how many minutes of a show are watched. This is incredibly important in the broadcast world, as ratings are the key way studios decide if a show gets canceled or renewed. That’s less true for streaming, since each site has its own viewership metric. However, that hasn’t stopped the aforementioned organization from recording the minutes a show is watched and releasing a list of the most binged shows of a given year.
2023 was no different. In fact, streaming numbers were more important than ever before, as TV audiences had less original content to watch, given the historic WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes that shut down production for months. According to data released by Nielsen, TV audiences watched 57.7 billion minutes of Suits in one year. This record-breaking number is not only impressive but is the reason it has dethroned The Office as the most-watched TV series ever. The hit NBC workplace comedy previously set the record in 2020 when audiences streamed 57.1 billion minutes of the series. The USA Network original went on to spend 12 weeks in the number one spot of Nielsen’s U.S. top 10 list, which is an incredible feat on its own.
However, it should be noted that both of these shows set these records in interesting viewership years. The Office had the help of the COVID-19 pandemic behind it, as many people had nothing else to do but stream their favorite shows when the world shut down. Whereas, Suits rode the waves of the Hollywood strikes, drawing in new and old viewers because there was barely anything new to watch. Still, neither achievement should be taken away from the beloved titles for those reasons.
More On Netflix
For a show like legal drama, which has been off the air since 2019, a record of this magnitude is groundbreaking. The ensemble series ran for nine seasons and did fairly well for itself in the ratings department. Still, this new surge of viewers had the entire cast surprised — so much so that they discussed the streaming boom in their group chat.
What’s even more exciting is that the renewed popularity of the series arguably led to series alums Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams reuniting to present at the Golden Globes earlier this month. All of this has also apparently sparked USA’s interest in returning to scripted TV originals instead of relying solely on unscripted fare. A sister show is also in the works, though it won't be a straight-up revival.
While Suits may have dominated 2023’s streaming list, there are a handful of other programs that boasted incredible numbers to make the top 10. The Disney animated children’s show Bluey took the number two spot with 43.9 billion minutes watched, with NCIS rounding out the top 3. Unfortunately, The Office was left off this year’s list entirely. I'm not sure that the crew from Scranton would be too thrilled but, hey, there’s always next year!
If you missed out on the Suits hype, now is the perfect chance to get caught up. All nine seasons of the series are still available to stream with an active Peacock or Netflix subscription. Or if you’re team Michael Scott and are a Peacock subscriber, consider logging into your account to help The Office reach the top 10 this year. And don’t forget to check out all the new shows that are on the way as part of the 2024 TV schedule.