ABC nearly catches CBS in 18-49

On a Thursday that saw ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” hold up well and remain the top demo draw, the Alphabet nearly caught a declining CBS for the night’s lead among young adults. Shows on Fox and CW were slightly on the rise.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (4.5 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) was in line with last week to dominate the 9 o’clock hour in all under-55 categories while also scoring a rare total viewers victory over CBS vet “CSI” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall), which continues to trend downward and was down more than 10% week to week. The gap between the dramas enabled ABC to come within a tick of CBS for the night’s 18-49 lead.

CBS continues to have the upper hand in the 8 o’clock hour, even though “The Big Bang Theory” (4.0/13 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall) and “Bleep My Dad Says” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) dropped for a second straight week following their strong premieres; ABC aired a repeat of “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) that fared about as well as the final original episode of “My Generation” in the timeslot a week ago.

And ABC and CBS remain pretty tight in 18-49 at 10 p.m. with “The Mentalist” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall) and “Private Practice” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall), with the Eye drama moving to a comfortable advantage in adults 25-54 (4.2/11 to 3.4/9) while standing as the night’s most-watched program overall.

For the night, CBS led in 18-49 (3.0 to 2.9 for ABC), 25-54 and total viewers.

Elsewhere, NBC’s comedy block took a step backward, with 8 o’clock’s “Community” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) dipping the least (two-tenths of a ratings point) and 8:30 p.m. entry “30 Rock,” featuring guest star Queen Latifah, falling the most (half a ratings point); after showing signs that it might begin to possibly hang with “Bleep” in the 18-49 race, the NBC comedy fell further behind the William Shatner-fronted rookie this week. The Peacock’s middle-hour comedy combo of “The Office” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall) and “Outsourced” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) both dipped by three-tenths. And closing out the night, “The Apprentice” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) was flat week to week and remained well behind ABC and CBS in the hour.

Fox’s drama duo of “Bones” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) and “Fringe” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) both were up a tick week to week, as were CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) and “Nikita” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall); newcomer “Nikita” was up a couple of ticks week to week in 18-34 (0.9 vs. 1.1)

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.0/9; ABC, 2.9/8; Fox, 2.3/7; NBC, 2.1/6; Univision, 1.7/5; CW, 1.3/4.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.6 million; ABC, 8.2 million; Fox, 7.2 million; NBC, 4.8 million; Univision, 4.0 million; CW, 3.2 million.

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