Scandal Ratings ABC

Opposite college basketball on CBS, ABC’s rising “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” were the top demo draws on Thursday, a night that saw more depressed numbers for Fox’s “American Idol.”

At CBS, coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament averaged a 1.1/4 in 18-49 and 3.8 million viewers overall during primetime — off 31% in the demo and 19% in total viewers from last year. These declines, on a day when the overall Thursday tourney average in the metered markets was up vs. a year ago, suggests that it was other dayparts, as well as primetime games on TNT, TBS and truTV, that drove the overnight gains.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ABC opened slowly with “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), but “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) tripled its lead-in and was up a tick from last week. “Scandal” (2.9/9 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall) grew week-to-week by 4% in 18-49 and 9% in total viewers for the show’s best scores since its Feb. 27 return to the schedule. It was the top show of the night and outperformed the comparable episode from a year ago by 5% in the demo and 7% in total viewers.

Fox finished second on the night in 18-49 and tied with ABC for the lead in total viewers with “Hell’s Kitchen” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) and “American Idol” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), which were down 11% (0.2) and 14% (0.3) respectively. A year ago, the “American Idol” results show, airing at 8 p.m., averaged a 2.9 rating in 18-49 and nearly 12 million total viewers.

Starting next week, “Idol” will air half-hour results shows on the night, and will be followed by new comedy “Surviving Jack.”

Over at NBC, “Community” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), which didn’t have to face CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” edged up from last week to match its highest rating since Jan. 9. And “Parks and Recreation” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) was up a tick from its prelim score and flat with its national score of last week. In adults 18-34, the comedies finished just a tenth behind Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” (1.1/4 vs. 1.2/5).

“Parks” was followed by a repeat of “Hollywood Game Night” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall), which retained nearly all of the previous week’s averages for an original. And “Parenthood” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) matched last week’s 18-49 rating and rose 8% in total viewers for the show’s largest overall audience since Jan. 23.

CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) was up slightly in total viewers and by 14% in its core women 18-34 demo (1.6 vs. 1.4) from its last episode of two weeks ago; it led its 8 o’clock hour in females 12-34 (1.6/6). And “Reign” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) rose from its averages of last week (when it followed a “Vampire Diaries” repeat) and outperformed the averages of “Beauty and the Beast” in the timeslot a year ago by 20% in adults 18-34 and 50% in women 18-34.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.0/6; Fox, 1.8/6; CBS, NBC and Univision, 1.1/3; CW, 0.9/3; Telemundo, 0.4/1.

In total viewers: ABC and Fox, 6.8 million; CBS, 3.8 million; NBC, 3.5 million; Univision, 2.7 million; CW, 1.9 million; Telemundo, 1.1 million.

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