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Ratings: ‘Scandal,’ ‘Murder’ and ‘Grey’s’ Give ABC Best Thursday Start Since ’09

UPDATE: In updated Nielsen estimates released Friday afternoon, CBS and NBC saw expected downward revisions due to football preemptions in Cleveland and Cincinnati, respectively, that had artificially inflated their prelim numbers.

At CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” (4.3/14 in 18-49, 16.56 million viewers overall) managed to avoid a downward adjustment and actually gained a tenth, leaving it up 0.2 from its Thursday season premiere of last week. Despite the improvement at 8 p.m., the Eye saw week-to-week declines for “Mom” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 20.80 million viewers overall), “Two and a Half Men” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 9.12 million viewers overall) and newcomer “The McCarthys” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 6.67 million viewers overall). “McCarthys” was able to match last week’s 71% retention of its lead-in. “Elementary” lost two tenths (1.2/4 in 18-49, 7.07 million viewers overall), leaving it even with last week’s series low.

NBC had pretty good news, at least relative to last week, despite afternoon adjustments downward for all of its shows. “The Biggest Loser” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.35 million viewers overall), “A to Z” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.74 million viewers overall) and “Parenthood” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.96 million viewers overall) all finished up a tenth from last week’s nationals, and “Bad Judge” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.68 million viewers overall) held steady. “Parenthood” seems to be picking up some momentum as it nears the end of its run, rising 0.2 from last week and beating “Elementary” in 18-49 for the first time in their 19 matchups of originals.

There were no adjustments at Fox, while CW saw “The Vampire Diaries” rise a tenth (0.8/2 in 18-49, 1.59 million viewers overall) to match last week’s score.

NFL Network’s coverage of the Cleveland-Cincinnati game drew a 2.9 rating in 18-49 and 8.31 million viewers million viewers overall, a nice jump from last week (2.3, 6.88 million).

 

ABC was the winner in young adults on Thursday behind its drama trio of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder,” as the net continues its highest-rated start to a season on the night in five years. CBS again had the night’s No. 1 show in “The Big Bang Theory,” while its new comedy “The McCarthys” looks to have retained most of its premiere-night audience in its second week.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) and “Scandal” (2.9/9 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) each dropped slightly from their most recent episodes to match their season low. Still, “Grey’s” was a solid No. 2 to the CBS comedies in the 8 o’clock hour (and held up well opposite “The Big Bang Theory” for the first time). “Scandal” won the 9 o’clock hour by 3 shares in the demo over the CBS comedies and will again stand as the week’s No. 1 broadcast drama in 18-49.

Capping Thursday for ABC was hot rookie “How to Get Away With Murder” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall), which was up a tick from last week’s low and doubled up competing dramas “Elementary” and “Parenthood.” In “most current” ratings, the Viola Davis-fronted “Murder” is the season’s No. 1-rated new drama in 18-49 as well as the top new series in the demo.

Ratings for most CBS shows (“Big Bang Theory” may be the exception) figure to be adjusted downward in the nationals due to a preemption in Cleveland for the NFL game between the Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. The Eye is still expected to remain the night’s most-watched network overall.

In the prelims, “Big Bang” (4.2/14 in 18-49, 16.6 million viewers overall) was up slightly from last week but was again on the low side. “Mom” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall) was a tick higher than last week, while “Two and a Half Men” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) was a tick lower from last week’s season premiere and newcomer “The McCarthys” held steady (1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall). It’s likely “McCarthys” will be revised down in the nationals, but it appears to have performed comparably to last week relative to its lead-in. “Elementary” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall) was up 0.2 in the prelims.

NBC aired the “Thursday Night Football” game on its station in Cincinnati, so its numbers figure to be revised down a bit in the nationals; the good news is that its shows were all up 0.2 or 0.3 in the prelims, so their football inflation may result in being on par with last week. “The Biggest Loser” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) was followed by “Bad Judge” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall), “A to Z” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) and “Parenthood” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall).

Fox’s “Bones” held even (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) while “Gracepoint” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall) lost a tenth to hit its low.

At CW, veteran “The Vampire Diaries” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) and sophomore “Reign” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) both were down a tick to match their lows.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.7/8; CBS, 2.3/7; NBC and Univision, 1.3/4; Fox, 1.0/3; CW, 0.6/2; Telemundo, 0.5/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 10.1 million; ABC, 9.0 million; Fox, 4.3 million; NBC, 4.2 million; Univision, 3.0 million; CW, 1.4 million; Telemundo, 1.2 million.

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