ABC's 'Scandal' edges up; NBC's 'Parks' returns solid

Fox has won another Thursday primetime ratings race even though ”American Idol” and ”Touch” combined for their lowest average to date. ABC saw ”Grey’s Anatomy” pick up steam, and new drama ”Scandal” also grew in its third outing.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ”American Idol” averaged a 3.9 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 14.6 million viewers overall, down week to week to match its season low. Still, without an original ”Big Bang Theory” airing on the night, it was Thursday’s No. 1 program in every category but two: men 18-34 (”The Office” beat it) and women 18-34 (”Grey’s Anatomy”). And at 9, ”Touch” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) was down a couple of ticks week to week.

At ABC, ”Missing” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall), which had held pretty steady at around a 1.5 rating for a few weeks, declined a tick for a second straight week. It was followed by ”Grey’s Anatomy” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall), which was up 10% week to week and outperformed the show’s last five originals in 18-49. And closing out the night, ”Scandal” appears to be up a tick to a series-best 2.1/6 in 18-49 while drawing 7.4 million viewers overall. Next week, the 9-11 p.m. ABC dramas will have tougher competition from CBS originals as the May sweep gets under way.

CBS aired mostly repeats on the night, starting with ”The Big Bang Theory” (2.5/9 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall), which was still Thursday’s No. 3 show in 18-49. It was followed by an original ”Rules of Engagement” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall), down more than 15% from last week when it was sandwiched by ”Big Bang,” and repeats of ”Person of Interest” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) and ”The Mentalist” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall).

At NBC, ”Community” was down a tick week to week (1.3/5 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) but 8:30 p.m. comedy ”30 Rock” edged up (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall). ”The Office” held steady (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall), and ”Parks and Recreation” returned from a six-week hiatus to match the net’s best 9:30 p.m. Thursday result in three months (when ”Parks” also aired there); ”Parks” matched its last original on March 8, when it was airing at 8:30. At 10, ”Awake” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) was about on par with last week.

CW’s ”The Vampire Diaries” returned at season-low levels (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall), but it’s still easily the net’s No. 1 program across the week. It was followed by rookie ”The Secret Circle” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall), which was also on the low side.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.0/9; ABC, 2.2/6; CBS, 1.8/5; Univision, 1.6/5; NBC, 1.4/4; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 11.0 million; CBS, 8.4 million; ABC, 8.0 million; Univision, 3.8 million; NBC, 3.2 million; CW, 1.6 million.

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