Why are US TV ratings so poor? The US has 5 times the population of the UK yet ratings for the main 5 UK/US networks are similar? America's Got Talent/Chicago PD/NCIS are regarded as big popular mainstream shows yet only get ratings like top UK shows. You could say people just record them now and watch later but not Delayed Viewing Figures don't add much. It's said the US has a lot more channel and cable is more popular yet it's not like lots of programs are getting millions of viewers on cable either. You'd expect big US programs to get tens of millions of viewers when you compare the population to the UK?