ABC, CBS Stay Hot, Top Week’s Primetime Demo Rankings

ABC, CBS Stay Hot, Top Week's

ABC and CBS remain the hottest networks this spring, tying for the week’s young-adult demo lead even though each was again without a key player.

The Alphabet, whose hot drama “Scandal” wrapped April 17, made it three straight weeks atop the 18-49 rankings — the first time the net has done since this the fall of 2007.

And CBS has now won six of the last nine weeks in 18-49, remaining a power even without its No. 2-rated program for the season, “How I Met Your Mother,” which wrapped March 31

Depending on how you slice the numbers, ABC and CBS are the narrow 18-49 leaders in the weeks since late winter, according to Nielsen estimates. ABC notes that it’s the top-rated network in the demo for the 10-week stretch since the end of the Olympics on NBC (Feb. 24), while CBS points out that it’s on top for the nine-week stretch since the Academy Awards on ABC (which gave the Alphabet a nice lift).

By both measuring sticks, NBC ranks a competitive third while Fox remains the laggard in fourth.

Looking at the week of April 28-May 4, the first full week of the May sweep, ABC and CBS both averaged a 1.6 rating/5 share in adults 18-49, followed by NBC (1.5/5), basketball-boosted TNT (1.3/4) and Fox and Univision (both at 1.2/4).

CBS moved ahead in adults 25-54 (2.3/6 to 2.2/6 for ABC), winning for the eighth time in nine weeks, while finishing comfortably on top in total viewers for a ninth straight week.

ABC started the week strong, as “Dancing With the Stars” (2.6/7, 15.88 million viewers overall) hit season highs and moved closer in the demo to NBC’s “The Voice,” and “Castle” (2.0/6, 10.39 million viewers overall) had its best demo score since November. And on Tuesday, “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 5.95 million viewers overall) grew 11% to match a 12-week high while “The Goldbergs” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.81 million viewers overall) surged 21% for a 15-week high and edged ahead of competing NBC comedy “About a Boy” for the first time.

“Grey’s Anatomy” grew 13% week to week with the return of Isaiah Washington (2.6/8 in 18-49, 8.81m), and that helped lead-out “Black Box” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 5.60 million viewers overall), which limited its week-2 decline to 13% in 18-49.

On Friday, “Shark Tank” (2.3/8 in 18-49, 8.33 million viewers overall) rose to series highs for a regular episode. And Sunday’s season finale of “Resurrection” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.16 million viewers overall) was the top ad-supported program in its timeslot in 18-49.

For CBS, highlights included “NCIS” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 17.25 million viewers overall), which had its most competitive finish opposite NBC’s “The Voice” since the music show moved to 8 p.m. — just two-tenths behind in 18-49 and tying for the lead in 25-54 (3.8/10).  It was also television’s most-watched program overall for the week.

Thursday’s “The Big Bang Theory” (4.5/16 in 18-49, 16.07 million viewers overall) was the week’s No. 1 program in 18-49, beating its combined ABC-NBC-Fox competition, and Friday’s “Blue Bloods” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 11.59 million viewers overall) was up across the board week to week and moved up to No. 5 among all primetime programs for the week in total viewers.

As for the net’s recently introduced comedies, Monday’s “Friends With Better Lives” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.11 million viewers overall) showed gains from the previous week and retained more than 80% of its “2 Broke Girls” lead-in. But Thursday’s “Bad Teacher” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.47 million viewers overall) fell off by more than 30% — about double the week-to-week dropoff of  lead-in “Two and a Half Men.”

NBC was paced once again by its Monday tandem of “The Voice” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 11.58 million viewers overall) and “The Blacklist” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 10.85 million viewers overall), even though the former hit a season low for a performance episode.

Also for the Peacock, “Chicago P.D.” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 7.28 million viewers overall) used the conclusion of its two-night crossover storyline with “Chicago Fire” to edge ahead of “CSI” in 18-49 for the first time. And Thursday’s “iHeart Radio Music Awards” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.48 million viewers overall) performed about 30% better than the net’s non-sports average on the night this season.

Fox was led by Sunday vets “Family Guy” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 4.40 million viewers overall) and “The Simpsons” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.39 million viewers overall), and CW by “Supernatural” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.10 million viewers overall).

TNT had a big week courtesy of the NBA Playoffs, capped by Saturday’s Game 7 in the Clippers-Warriors series (2.6/11 in 18-49, 5.99 million viewers overall).

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 7.12 million viewers overall) hit another high Sunday, ranking second among all primetime programs for the week in 18-49 — even though the premium cabler is only available in about one third of U.S. households.



Adults 18-49 (rating/share)

ABC             1.6/5
CBS              1.6/5
NBC             1.5/5
Fox              1.2/4
UNI             1.2/4
CW              0.6/2
TEL             0.4/1

Total Viewers

CBS             8.78 million
ABC            6.64 million
NBC            6.14 million
Fox              3.90 million
UNI             2.94 million
CW              1.48 million
TEL             1.14 million

(Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.   The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.5/16
2.  Game of Thrones (HBO)*, 3.9/11
3.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.0/9
4.  Modern Family (ABC), 2.8/8
5.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.7/9
5.  The Blacklist (NBC), 2.7/8
7.  NBA Playoffs-Saturday: Golden State-L.A. Clippers (TNT) 2.6/11
7.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.6/8
7.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 2.6/7
10.  NCIS (CBS), 2.5/8
11. NBA Playoffs: Saturday: Memphis-Oklahoma City (TNT), 2.4/9
12.  Shark Tank (ABC), 2.3/8
12.  Survivor (CBS), 2.3/7
12.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 2.3/7
15.  Family Guy (Fox), 2.2/7
15.  NBA Playoffs-Tuesday: Golden State-L.A. Clippers (TNT), 2.2/7
15.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.2/6
15.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 2.2/6
19.  Once Upon a Time (ABC), 2.1/7
19.  Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (ABC), 2.1/6
19.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 2.1/6
19.  Resurrection (ABC), 2.1/6
19.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 2.1/6

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NCIS (CBS), 17.25
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 16.07
3.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 15.88
4.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 14.83
5.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 11.59
6.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 11.58
7.  Person of Interest (CBS), 11.31
8.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 11.18
9.  The Blacklist (NBC), 10.85
10.  60 Minutes (CBS), 10.48
11.  Castle (ABC), 10.39
12.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.30
13.  CSI (CBS), 9.95
14.  Survivor (CBS), 9.70
15.  The Millers (CBS), 9.43
16.  The Good Wife (CBS), 8.99
17.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 8.97
18.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 8.81
19.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 8.79
20.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 8.77

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