In all of the televised episodes of Star Trek (TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY & ENT), what was the single highest Nielsen rated episode?

  • I have heard "The Trouble with Tribbles" informally mentioned as the most popular episode, but I don't know which metric they used, and the statement might have been biased as it was brought up in an interview with the writer of the episode (David Gerrold?)
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 8:17

2 Answers 2


The series premiere for TOS (The Man Trap) opened with a Nielsen rating of 25.2 (albeit facing dramatically less competition than future shows). This is a figure that would never again be matched by any trek episode.

The series premiere DS9 (Emissary) garnered the largest overall Nielsen rating for a modern show with a score of 18.8.

The next most popular was the series finale of TNG (All Good Things) with a score of 17.4

The highest rated episode of Voyager was the series premiere (Caretaker) with a score of 13.3.

The highest rated episode of Enterprise (Broken Bow, Part 1) was a limp 9.1, declining to a positively flaccid 2.2 before finally being put out of everyone's misery.

The highest rated episode of Discovery thus far (The Vulcan Hello, Part 1) was a frankly appalling 1.9 but this doesn't take into account that the show had already been broadcast on CBS' own subscription-only service.

  • 8
    Any numbers for the Animated Series?
    – sfhq_sf
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 23:09
  • 15
    Please note that these figures are almost all "unofficial". Nielsen ratings are supposed to be confidential and were restricted to subscribers only. There's also a major differential between what the ratings were looking at over the years; overnights, ratings across markets, syndicated ratings, etc that make it very difficult to compare like with like.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 23:10
  • 4
    "For locating the Nielsen ratings for the original broadcasts of ST:TOS, I am indebted to Kate Barnett at Nielsen Media Services." VERY official.
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 23:17
  • 4
    @sfhq_sf - I can't find any. I gather it had poor ratings but was also very cheap to make. To give you some idea how cheap, Roddenberry and his producer ended up commissioning half a dozen episodes with their own money to round off the series.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 23:23
  • 8
    I'd much rather watch an episode of Enterprise than Voyager, and I know I'm not the only one.
    – GreenMatt
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 13:49

You can see the Nielsen ratings for ALL modern Star Trek episodes (TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT) plotted together on this handy graph from here:

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Which confirms Richard's answer (the highest outside of TOS is the DS9 premiere Emissary, followed by the TNG finale All Good Things), but I thought it was worth a separate answer for the complete graph displaying them all so nicely.

  • 3
    I was going to write a long, detailed answer (including this) but you two got there while I was reading These Are The Voyages. :)
    – Adamant
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 23:21
  • 8
    @Jonah - There's nothing to stop you. If your answer is superior, it will get more votes and bubble up to the top. I've done as much research as I feel like I need to (to answer the question to my own satisfaction) but that doesn't mean you can't go the extra mile.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 23:25
  • 3
    It's interesting how stable the TNG ratings are. Trekkie-craze? Hardly any "sci-fi" alternatives on the market? Just giving you your "daily bread" like Dallas? It's a shame it's not labeled with dates (though we can make some rough guesses).
    – Luaan
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 9:31
  • 2
    @Luaan: The television market exploded in the 1990s, VHS became more commonplace and the internet was hitting homes. The very consistent downward trend that hit the entire franchise is remarkably evident here (so it would be nice if people stopped blaming individual shows without evidence!) Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 11:18
  • 4
    Most interesting to me: TNG has a slight wave pattern that coincides with the seasons. None of the others do.
    – Izkata
    Commented Apr 29, 2016 at 14:16

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