Even ‘Heroes’ couldn’t save NBC

Network continues to perform at historic lows

While Fox made it a dozen straight weeks as primetime’s top network in the key young-adult demo, NBC continues to perform at historic lows.

Even the return of rookie hit “Heroes” didn’t budge the Nielsen needle for the Peacock, as the net matched its all-time lowest demo average — settling for less than half of Fox’s score. NBC claimed just two of the week’s top 20 programs in adults 18-49.

Overall, an extra hour of “American Idol” helped Fox easily take the April 23-29 frame with a 4.5 rating/13 share in adults 18-49, followed by ABC (3.3/10), CBS (2.9/9), NBC (2.1/6), Univision (1.6/5) and the CW (1.3/4).

Fox also rolled in adults 25-54 (4.8/13) and auds 12-34 (3.8/13) while holding off CBS to win in total viewers for a second straight week (11.5 million to 10.8 million for CBS). Fox notes this weekly victory in total viewers is its eighth this season, a network record.

Leading the way was Wednesday’s two-hour-plus “Idol Gives Back” event, which raised more than $60 million for relief programs to help young people in extreme poverty in America and Africa. It averaged a 10.2 rating/27 share in adults 18-49 and 26.93 million viewers overall, down from what “American Idol” typically averages with its Wednesday results show.

Tuesday’s performance edition of “Idol” (10.0/28 in 18-49, 26.55m) and lead-out drama “House” (8.4/21, 20.81m) also dominated their slots.

Elsewhere, quizzer “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” placed a solid second in its tough Thursday hour (3.5/10 in 18-49, 10.13m), and Sunday laffer “Family Guy” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 8.13m) was second in its slot among adults 18-49 and first in 18-34 (5.6/16).

It was the end of the road, though, for new drama “Drive,” which was canceled after a weak second Monday outing (1.8/5, 4.60m).

ABC continues to ride some late-season momentum, claiming eight of the week’s top 20 shows in adults 18-49 and, like Fox, up vs. the same week a year ago.

Thursday’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.4/21 in 18-49, 20.08m) tied Fox’s “House” as the week’s No. 1 scripted skein in 18-49 and moved ahead of “American Idol” to stand as the top program in adults 18-34 (8.6/24). The season finale of “October Road” (4.1/12, 9.00m) was a demo winner as well on Thursday, as the net opened the May sweep on top in 18-49 for the first time in at least 15 years (Daily Variety, April 30).

ABC also continued its winning ways on Monday with “Dancing With the Stars” (4.9/14, 18.87m) and “The Bachelor” (3.4/9, 9.13m) and swept all four hours on Sunday in 18-49, led by “Desperate Housewives” (6.8/17, 17.17m) and “Brothers & Sisters” (4.3/12, 11.15m).

CBS was paced by vets “CSI” (5.9/15, 20.20m), “CSI: Miami” (5.2/14, 17.03m) and “Survivor” (4.6/14, 13.83m), while the net led in demos as usual on Friday behind “Ghost Whisperer” (2.6/10 in 18-49, 9.20m) and “Numbers” (2.6/9, 10.15m).

Of note on Sunday was the best showing in more than a month for “The Amazing Race: All-Stars” (3.1/9, 9.43m), which ends its season this week.

NBC didn’t have a lot working outside the timeslot-winning “Heroes” (5.3/13, 11.96m) and competitive Thursday perfs from “My Name Is Earl” (3.2/10, 7.49m), “The Office” (3.9/11, 7.56m) and “ER” (3.7/10, 9.52m).

Net practically went dark over the weekend, with every program on Friday, Saturday and Sunday coming in below a 2 rating in 18-49, including Sunday’s broadcast premiere of “Along Came Polly” (1.6/4, 5.02m).

New reality series “The Real Wedding Crashers” did just OK in its bow on Monday (2.9/8, 6.74m) behind “Heroes” and slipped a bit on Monday of the current week (2.6/7, 5.61m).

Univision tied NBC for fourth place in adults 18-34 (1.7/6), with its five-night “La Fea Mas Bella” beating all but Fox on a Monday-Friday basis in the 8 o’clock hour.

And the CW, stocked with originals, had its best showing in a while (1.4/5 in 18-34). Tuesday’s finale of unscripted competition “Pussycat Dolls Present” (1.6/4, 3.43m) built on its “Gilmore Girls” lead-in in key demos.

TNT moved ahead of USA for the week’s cable lead in all key demos while the nets were neck and neck in total viewers (2.3 million). The Turner net was powered by the NBA Playoffs, highlighted by Sunday’s Golden State-Dallas contest (1.7/6 in 18-49, 3.68m).

And in the evening news derby, ABC’s “World News” (2.1/9 in 25-54, 8.20m) went narrowly back in front of NBC’s “Nightly News” (2.0/9, 7.89m), with CBS’ “Evening News” further back (1.7/7, 6.39m). The Alphabet newscast was up vs. the same frame a year ago, while the other two were down.

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