'Ozark,' 'The Office,' 'Frozen 2,' Tucker Carlson: The most watched TV and movies of 2020

Gary Levin
USA TODAY

What a year 2020 was.

A pandemic, protests about racism, election drama ... and plenty of television, in part due to all us trapped indoors due to coronavirus. 

So what did we watch? Nielsen says Netflix's "Ozark" was the most streamed original series, nearly doubling the No. 2 series "Lucifer" despite having less than half the number of episodes. "The Office" was again the top network series streamed, while NBC's "Sunday Night Football" was again the top network TV program, followed by "NCIS."  And Disney's "Frozen 2" and "Moana" were the most-streamed movies of the year. 

ABC's David Muir led network evening newscasts; "Good Morning America" was tops among morning shows; and Fox News' Tucker Carlson is now the top-rated cable news host, eclipsing Sean Hannity.

We've got you covered with this compendium of the most popular streaming series, TV shows, news programs and more:

Netflix's "Ozark" was the most streamed original series of 2020, Nielsen says.

Most streamed original TV series

  1. Ozark (Netflix)
  2. Lucifer (Netflix)
  3. The Crown (Netflix)
  4. Tiger King (Netflix)
  5. The Mandalorian (Disney+)
  6. The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)
  7. Great British Baking Show (Netflix)
  8. Boss Baby: Back in Business (Netflix)
  9. Longmire (Netflix)
  10. You (Netflix)

Based on total minutes viewed 12/30/19-12/27/20. Source: Nielsen 

John Krasinski,  Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Steve Carell in NBC's "The Office," the most popular network series on streaming last year.  The show moved from Netflix to Peacock in January.

Most streamed acquired TV series

  1. The Office (Netflix)
  2. Grey's Anatomy (Netflix)
  3. Criminal Minds (Netflix/Hulu)
  4. NCIS (Netflix/CBS All Access) 
  5. Schitt's Creek (Netflix)
  6. Supernatural (Netflix)
  7. Shameless (Netflix/Showtime) 
  8. New Girl (Netflix)
  9. The Blacklist (Netflix/Peacock) 
  10. The Vampire Diaries (Netflix)

Based on total minutes viewed 12/30/19-12/27/20. Source: Nielsen 

'Frozen 2' was the most streamed movie of 2020, according to Nielsen data.

Most streamed movies 

  1. Frozen 2 (Disney+) 
  2. Moana (Disney+) 
  3. Secret Life of Pets 2 (Netflix)
  4. Onward (Disney+) 
  5. Dr. Seuss' The Grinch (2018) (Netflix) 
  6. Hamilton (Disney+)
  7. Spenser Confidential (Netflix) 
  8. Aladddin (2019) (Disney+) 
  9. Toy Story 4 (Disney+) 
  10. Zootopia (Disney+) 

Based on total minutes viewed 12/30/19-12/27/20. Source: Nielsen 

NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' remained the top show on television in 2020.

Top TV shows

  1. Sunday Night Football (NBC)    16.3
  2. NCIS (CBS)                                    15.4
  3. FBI (CBS)                                       12.9
  4. Thursday Night Football (Fox)  12.9
  5. Blue Bloods (CBS)                       12.2
  6. Chicago Fire (NBC)                      12.0
  7. Chicago PD (NBC)                        11.5
  8. Young Sheldon (CBS)                 11.4
  9. Chicago Med (NBC)                    11.4
  10. This Is Us (NBC)                            11.3

Most watched regularly scheduled programs, 1/1/20 to 11/15/20, in millions of viewers. Source: Nielsen 

Past and present "Good Morning America" anchors Sam Champion, Robin Roberts, Amy Robach, George Stephanopoulos, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Lara Spencer, seen at a 40th Anniversary celebration.

Morning shows

                                                          2020   2019   % change

Good Morning America (ABC)              3.7    3.9       -6%

Today (NBC)                                          3.6    3.8      -6%

CBS This Morning                                 2.8    3.0      -4%

Viewers in millions, 12/30/19-12/20/20, vs. comparable period in 2019. Source: Nielsen 

ABC's 'World News Tonight with David Muir' was the top-rated network newscast in 2020.

TV news programs 

                                                              2020. 2019. % change

ABC World News Tonight (David Muir)  9.6  8.6  +12%

NBC Nightly News (Lester Holt)             8.3  7.8  + 6% 

CBS Evening News (Norah O'Donnell)  5.9  5.7 + 4%

Tucker Carlson Tonight (Fox News).       4.5   3.1 +42%

All In with Chris Hayes (MSNBC)           2.1   1.8. +18%

Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)                  1.8   1.1  +70%

Fox News host Tucker Carlson became the top-rated cable news host in 2020, eclipsing his colleague Sean Hannity.

Hannity (Fox News)                                 4.4   3.4  +31%

Rachel Maddow (MSNBC)                       3.4  2.9  +15%

Cuomo Prime Time (CNN)                      2.0.  1.1. +76%

Ingraham Angle (Fox News).                    3.6.  2.7. +35%

Last Word/Lawrence O'Donnell (MSNBC) 2.5. 2.2. +13%

CNN Tonight w/Don Lemon (CNN)           1.6  1.0  +65%

Viewership in millions, 12/30/19-12/20/20, vs. comparable period in 2019.  Source: Nielsen 

Mandy Patinkin in Showtime's 'Homeland,' which ended its run in 2020 but was the year's top video-on-demand title, at least in homes served by Comcast.

Video on Demand titles

  1. Homeland (Showtime)
  2. Game of Thrones (HBO) 
  3. 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days (TLC)
  4. The Sopranos (HBO)
  5. Outlander (Starz)
  6. Married at First Sight (Lifetime)
  7. The First 48 (A&E)
  8. Sesame Street (HBO)
  9. Billions (Showtime)
  10. PAW Patrol (Nick Jr.)
  11. 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? (TLC)
  12. SpongeBob SquarePants (Nickelodeon)
  13. Power (Starz)
  14. Shameless (Showtime)
  15. The Last Dance (ESPN)
  16. 90 Day Fiancé (TLC)
  17. This Is Us (NBC)
  18. Henry Danger (Nickelodeon)
  19. 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way (TLC)
  20. Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Most viewed titles on demand in homes served by Comcast Cable systems, based on number of hours viewed, 1/1/20-12/13/20.  Source: Comcast 

Dwayne Johnson in 'Jumani: The Next Level,' Redbox's pick for the top on-demand movie rental.

On-demand movie rentals

  1. Jumanji: The Next Level
  2. Bad Boys for Life
  3. Just Mercy
  4. The Invisible Man 
  5. Trolls World Tour
  6. Sonic the Hedgehog
  7. Dolittle
  8. Birds of Prey
  9. Joker
  10. Knives Out

Most rented on-demand titles on Redbox service, 1/1/20-12/6/20. Source: Redbox