NCIS

Amazingly durable shows remain broadcast TV's top drama draws in key categories

Plenty has changed this season, but one thing hasn’t: “Grey’s Anatomy” and “NCIS” are broadcast TV’s top dramas.

In a season lacking any true new breakout hourlongs, nothing was able to dethrone these vets, which have aired a combined 19 seasons. Both were at the top of their game last week too as they approach their finales, rising about 10% week-to-week, according to Nielsen, and finishing as the top-rated dramas among young adults for the first full week of the May sweep.

In a sign of how things have changed this season, “NCIS” and “Grey’s Anatomy” beat both nights of  “American Idol” in the 18-49 rankings as the Fox show’s fade continues in its 12th year.

For the season, “Grey’s” is poised to finish as the top-rated broadcast drama in 18-49 (currently at a 4.1 average for all episodes), while “NCIS” is easily the top drama in adults 25-54 (5.7) and total viewers (21.3 million). “NCIS” also will edge out NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” as the season’s most-watched primetime program overall.

Last week also saw the season’s top new dramas in adults 18-49 continue their late-season trends. While Fox’s “Following” closed out its initial 15-episode season with a seven-week high (2.7 rating/7 share), NBC’s “Revolution” (1.8/5) fell to a low. The shows should finish at around the same average for the season, which would rank them among the top 5 dramas in 18-49.

Overall for the April 29-May 5 sesh, CBS and Fox tied for the lead among adults 18-49 with a 1.9 rating/6 share, and were followed by NBC (1.8/5), ABC (1.6/5) and Univision (1.3/4). NBC, which aired five original hours (and eight total) of “The Voice,” was the only network up vs. last year, while ABC, CBS and Fox were all off by double-digits.

CBS won in adults 25-54 (2.7/7) and total viewers (9.2 million), stretching its streaks in these categories to eight and 10 weeks, respectively.

The Eye dominated the week’s 18-49 program rankings, claiming 10 of the top 20 programs — more than the combined tallies of Fox (four), ABC (three) and NBC (two). “The Big Bang Theory” finished atop the program rankings in 18-49 (4.9/17) and placed second in total viewers (16.29 million).

“NCIS” was the No. 1 drama in 18-49 for a second straight week and stood No. 1 overall in total viewers (18.29 million).

Fox was paced by “American Idol” on Wednesday (2.9/9 in 18-49, 11.26m) and Thursday (2.6/9, 11.27m), which joined “The Following” (2.7/7, 7.82m) in the week’s top 15.

NBC matched its highest weeklong 18-49 average since January, with Monday’s “The Voice” (4.3/12 in 18-49, 12.67m) winning all four of its half-hours in 18-49 and rising 26% above its perf on the opening Monday of the year-ago May sweep.

The Peacock remains deep in fourth on Thursday, but it got a boost from an hourlong “The Office” (1.8/5, 3.51m). And that also gave a lift to “Parks and Recreation” (1.6/4, 2.99m) and “Hannibal” (1.1/3, 2.61m), both of which grew week to week.

At ABC, “Modern Family” (3.6/10, 9.64m) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (3.0/9, 8.87m) led the way in 18-49. The premiere of Wednesday comedy “Family Tools” was modest (1.5/5, 5.79m), and another recent addition on the night, “How to Live With Your Parents” (2.1/6, 6.20m), retained a sluggish 58% of its “Modern Family” lead-in after holding more than 65% of the 9 p.m. anchor in its first two tries.

It was a quiet exit, meanwhile, for “Happy Endings” on Friday (0.7/3 in 18-49, 2.17m) and “Red Widow” on Sunday (0.8/2, 3.41m).

On a positive note, ABC won in adults 18-49 in the 10 o’clock hour on four of five weeknights, led by Thursday’s “Scandal” (2.6/8, 8.07m).

The top program on cable in both 18-49 and total viewers was HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (2.9/7, 5.50m) as the show hit series highs for a fourth straight week.

The NBA Playoffs propelled TNT to the cable lead in all key categories, with the top-rated game coming Wednesday night with the first-round contest between Houston and Oklahoma City (2.1/7, 4.50m for Rockets-Thunder).

Fox News remained a top five cable network for the week, and its average primetime audience of 1.76 million was down just 5% from the previous week, which was a big one for news with developments in the Boston bombings. By comparison, CNN saw its audience tumble 30% last week as it tied MSNBC for the week with 544,000 viewers.

WEEK’S TOP PROGRAMS

Adults 18-49
1.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.9/17
2.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 4.3/12
3.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 3.9/11
4.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.6/10
5.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 3.2/10
6.  NCIS (CBS), 3.1/10
7.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 3.0/9
8.  American Idol-Wed. (Fox), 2.9/9
8.  Game of Thrones (HBO), 2.9/7
10.  How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 2.7/9
10.  The Following (Fox), 2.7/7
12.  American Idol-Thu. (Fox), 2.6/9
12.  Scandal (ABC), 2.6/8
12.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 2.6/7
15.  Survivor (CBS), 2.4/8
15.  Person of Interest (CBS), 2.4/7
15.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.4/7
15.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 2.4/6
15.  The Amazing Race (CBS), 2.4/6
20.  American Dad (Fox), 2.3/6

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NCIS (CBS), 18.29
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 16.29
3.  Dancing With the Stars-Mon. (ABC), 13.45
4.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 13.07
5.  Person of Interest (CBS), 12.96
6.  The Voice-Mon. (NBC), 12.67
7.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 12.12
8.  The Voice-Tue. (NBC), 11.84
9.  American Idol-Thu. (Fox), 11.27
10.  American Idol-Wed. (Fox), 11.26
11.  Dancing With the Stars-Tue. (ABC), 10.89
12.  60 Minutes (CBS), 10.71
13.  Castle (ABC), 10.53
14.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.13
15.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 10.02
16.  Elementary (CBS), 9.75
17.  Modern Family (ABC), 9.64
18.  CSI (CBS), 9.49
19.  Survivor (CBS), 9.25
20.  The Mentalist (CBS), 9.17

WEEK’S TOP NETWORKS
(in millions)

Total Viewers
CBS  9.22
ABC  6.67
Fox  5.98
NBC  5.56
UNI  3.38
TNT  2.87
USA  2.41
Disney  2.28
Fox News  1.76
History  1.74

Adults 18-49
CBS  2.39 (1.9/6)
Fox  2.39 (1.9/6)
NBC  2.23 (1.8/5)
ABC  2.05 (1.6/5)
UNI  1.69
TNT  1.49
USA  0.92
TBS  0.91
TEL  0.88
FX  0.83

Adults 25-54
CBS  3.19 (2.7/7)
Fox  2.77 (2.3/6)
NBC  2.61  (2.2/6)
ABC  2,53 (2.1/6)
UNI  1.68
TNT  1.38
USA  0.99
TBS  0.90
TEL  0.84
FX  0.77

SEASON TO DATE

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS  11.95 (+2%)

ABC  7.80 (-6%)
Fox  7.08 (-20%)
NBC  6.98 (-6%)
4-Nets  33.81 (-7%

CW  1.78 (+3%)
TEL  1.34 (+9%)
UNI  3.72 (+3%)

Adults 18-49 (Rating/share)
CBS  2.9/8 (-3%)
Fox  2.5/7 (-22%)
NBC  2.4/7 (-4%)
ABC  2.2/6 (-8%)
4-Nets  10.0/28 (-10%)

CW  0.7/2 (-13%)
TEL  0.6/2 (+20%)
UNI  1.5/4 (Even)

Adults 25-54
CBS
  3.8/10 (-3%)
Fox  2.9/7 (-22%)
NBC  2.8/7 (-7%)
ABC  2.8/7 (-7%)
4-nets  12.3/31 (-10%)

CW  0.8/2 (Even)
TEL  0.6/1 (+20%)
UNI  1.5/4 (Even)

Adults 18-34
Fox  2.2/7 (-19%)
CBS  1.9/6 (Even)
NBC  1.9/6 (-5%)
ABC  1.7/6 (-6%)
4-nets  7.7/25 (-8%)

CW  0.7/2 (-13%)
TEL  0.5/2 (Even)
UNI  1.3/4 (-19%)

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