ABC’s ‘Murder’ Holds Strong; Quiet Starts for ‘Gracepoint,’ ‘Bad Judge’ and ‘A to Z’


UPDATE: In updated Nielsen nationals released Friday afternoon, each of ABC’s dramas was revised upward by a tenth: “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.7/9 in 18-49, 9.44 million viewers overall), “Scandal” (3.4/10 in 18-49, 10.70 million viewers overall) and “How to Get Away With Murder” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 12.15 million viewers overall). Compared to their huge premieres of last week, “Grey’s” declined by 12%, “Scandal” by 13% and “How to Get Away With Murder” by 15%.

There were no other 18-49 changes on the night, with “Gracepoint” (4.76 million viewers overall) and “A to Z” (4.79 million viewers overall) holding at a 1.2 rating, and “Bad Judge” (5.84 million viewers overall) at a 1.3.

CBS (along with the NFL Network’s simulcast) won Thursday with “Thursday Night Football,” which averaged a still-potent 5.9/19 in 18-49 and 16.54 million viewers overall despite another blowout. Broken down by network, NFL Net accounted for roughly 16% of the game’s overall audience and 22% of its adults 18-49 tune-in.


ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” fell off some from its boffo bow of last week, but continued to look good on Thursday behind “Scandal,” but it was slow going for the night’s three premieres — Fox’s 10-part murder mystery “Gracepoint” and comedies “Bad Judge” and “A to Z” on NBC. And the CW’s Thursday lineup of “The Vampire Diaries” and “Reign” kicked off their seasons quietly.

CBS and NFL Network will win the night with “Thursday Night Football,” even though the Green Bay Packers’ 42-10 demolition of the Minnesota Vikings meant another blowout for the franchise. The game earned a 10.4 overnight household rating/17 share in Nielsen’s metered markets, which should translate into roughly 15 million viewers in the nationals.

Looking at Thursday’s entertainment series in Nielsen’s preliminary “live plus same-day” estimates, ABC followed “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) and “Scandal” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) with week two of “How to Get Away With Murder” (3.2/10 in 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall).

The Viola Davis starrer “Murder” was down 16% from its prelim of last week (3.2 vs. 3.8), but lead-in “Scandal” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall) eased by nearly 15% itself, and it more than doubled its drama competition in the 10 p.m. timeslot, NBC’s “Parenthood” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall). “Murder” held 97% of its 18-49 lead-in from “Scandal” and built on it in both 25-54 (3.8 vs. 3.7) and total viewers (11.8 million vs. 10.4 million).

The three ABC dramas stood as Thursday’s top series in key demos as well as total viewers. The Alphabet was up 7% vs. the same night a year ago, and it figures to expand that margin in Live+3 numbers.

At NBC, “The Biggest Loser” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) held at is level of last week, leading into the premieres of “Bad Judge” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) and “A to Z” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall). Last season, “Sean Saves the World” averaged a 1.4 rating in 18-49 with its premiere in the 9 o’clock half-hour.

The “Bad Judge” number is low but it did manage to hold its “Biggest Loser” lead-in among young adults while gaining more than 1 million total viewers.

Among all series premieres this fall, the NBC comedies are on par in 18-49 with the lowest to date on any network — Fox’s “Red Band Society” from mid-September (1.3) and Fox’s “Gracepoint” last night (1.2).

Airing behind “Bones” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall), the remake of U.K. drama “Broadchurch” averaged 1.2/3 in 18-49, a 1.6/4 in 25-54 and 4.8 million viewers overall; if there was a positive sign, it’s that it held steady in both 18-49 and total viewers in its second half-hour. Airing in a tough timeslot against “Scandal” and NFL action, “Gracepoint” (pictured) figures to be a solid performer in DVR playback.

At CW, “The Vampire Diaries” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 1.8 million viewers overall) continued its gradual decline, down 25% (0.3) from its year-ago season opener but up from its finale. And “Reign” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall) did just half the 18-49 rating of its year-ago series premiere in mid-October.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 4.2/13; ABC, 3.0/9; NBC and Fox, 1.3/4; Univision, 1.1/3; CW and Telemundo, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.4 million; ABC, 10.4 million; Fox, 5.6 million; NBC, 4.8 million; Univision, 2.9 million; CW, 1.4 million; Telemundo, 1.3 million.

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  1. EK says:

    No mention of possible impact of baseball playoff games impacting web viewing. These reports, based solely on Nielsen, are meaningless as Les Moonves, for one, has stated correctly. CBS boss must be cursing the football gods as his NFL games have been blowouts with minimal sustained viewing.

  2. Peral says:

    FOX is in big trouble with all of their shows. The network seems to be a mess right now. I think very poor promotion has alot to do with it.

  3. Carly says:

    The geniuses at FOX bury Gracepoint, their one classy show. But, hey, they’re still profitable so Rupert should keep ’em all and give ’em a raise. Duh.

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