Valentine's Day numbers low; ABC's 'Zero' opens weakly

Cupid played havoc with the networks’ primetime lineups Thursday as overall viewership was down on Valentine’s Day. CBS won easily behind “The Big Bang Theory,” while it was slow going for ABC’s new “Zero Hour.”

Nielsen estimates that television usage among adults 18-49 was down 6% vs. last Thursday, including by 7% in the 8 o’clock hour, by 6% from 9 to 10 p.m., and by 4% among 10 to 11. As a result, DVR playback for the top Thursday night series figures to be bigger than usual in the coming days.

Looking at the numbers, “The Big Bang Theory” again dominated its timeslot and the night with a 5.4 rating/17 share in adults 18-49 and 17.6 million viewers overall, even if this did represent a falloff of more than 10% from last week. From there, “Two and a Half Men” placed second to Fox’s “American Idol” at 8:30 p.m. (3.8/11 in 18-49, 13.7 million viewers overall), with the vet comedy off 7% week to week. Holding up better were 9-11 p.m. dramas “Person of Interest” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 14.8 million viewers overall) and “Elementary” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), which were in line with last week.

“Person” won the 9 p.m. hour in 18-49 for a third straight week, contributing to a CBS victory on the night in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

Elsewhere, Fox’s “American Idol” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall) and “Glee” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall) were down 12% and 23%, respectively, from last week to season lows. For “Idol,” the 3.6 represents an in-season series low for any night.

ABC’s “Zero Hour,” fronted by Anthony Edwards, averaged a 1.3/4 in 18-49 and 6.3 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour, tying with NBC’s comedies in 18-49 and matching what a repeat “Shark Tank” did in the hour a week ago for ABC. It’s believed to be the lowest demo rating on record for an ABC drama premiere; compared with recent ABC premieres in the troubled timeslot, “Zero” was well down from both “Last Resort” last fall (2.2) and “Missing” last March (2.1).

“Grey’s Anatomy” followed at 9 p.m. (2.7/7 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), dropping 13% week to week and placing second in its timeslot, and “Scandal” closed things out by matching its series high (2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) and winning the 10 p.m. hour in demos. As it stands in the prelims, “Scandal” built on “Grey’s” in 18-49 for the first time, though a two-minute “Grey’s” runover into the 10 o’clock hour could result in a different outcome in the nationals.

NBC saw a steep 40% week-to-week decline for “Community” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall), which had returned to solid numbers last Thursday. It was followed by “Parks and Recreation” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall), which again built on its lead-in, and “The Office,” which aired an hourlong episode (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) and delivered about the same numbers it did two weeks ago when it also aired an original hour.

And a special repeat of “Law & Order: SVU” at 10 p.m. (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) improved upon the week-ago timeslot results for new drama “Do No Harm.”

CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall) and “Beauty and the Beast” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) were both down a bit from last week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.3/10; Fox, 2.7/8; ABC, 2.3/7; NBC and Univision, 1.5/4; CW, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 13.8 million; Fox, 8.7 million; ABC, 7.6 million; Univision, 3.7 million; NBC, 3.5 million; CW, 1.9 million.

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