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CBS’ ‘Big Bang Theory’ Finale Dominates Thursday; Fox’s ‘Kitchen,’ ‘Idol’ Improve

It was “The Big Bang Theory” and then everything else on the final Thursday of the season, with the geekcom dominating its timeslot — drawing its largest-ever audience for a closer — and lifting CBS to victory. ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” won its hour, but showed no spike for its finale, but Fox’s “American Idol” picked up a little steam as it nears the finish line.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “The Big Bang Theory” averaged a 4.8 rating/18 share in adults 18-49 and 16.3 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock half-hour next season — up a full ratings point from its season low of last week when it was up against the start of the NFL Draft and matched its season-ending score of last year (and figures to surpass it with an expected uptick in the nationals). “Big Bang” nearly doubled the demo delivery of any other show on the night and was also easily Thursday’s most-watched program overall.

CBS dropped off from there with the first-season finale of “The Millers” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall), retaining about half its “Big Bang” lead-in and winning its timeslot by 2 shares in 18-49 over Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen”; it was up about half a ratings point from last week. It was followed by a repeat “Two and a Half Men” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), an original “Bad Teacher” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall) and the season finale of “Elementary” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall), which was the broadcast leader in its timeslot but was down 30% (0.6) from its finale of a year ago when it had a much stronger lead-in.

Elsewhere, Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) was up two-tenths from last week to place second for its hour, and an expanded hourlong edition of “American Idol” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) grew 25% (0.4) from last week’s half-hour; the show wraps its season next Wednesday.

ABC followed a “Grey’s Anatomy” repeat (0.6/2 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) with the show’s season finale (2.5/8 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall). The medical drama, which said goodbye to original cast member Sandra Oh, held at last week’s number and was down 19% from last year’s closer (3.1), when it preceded the “Scandal” finale. Last night, “Grey’s” was followed by “Black Box” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall), which was down a tenth to its low.

NBC opened with “Hollywood Game Night” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall), which rose about 20% week to week to match its highest rating since Feb. 27. It was followed by the conclusion of two-night original movie “Rosemary’s Baby” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall), which was down a tick from its Sunday opener.

At CW, “The Vampire Diaries” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) was up a tenth from last week but down three-tenths from its year-ago finale. The season finale of “Reign” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) was on par with last week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.2/7; Fox, 1.9/6; ABC, 1.4/5; NBC, 1.0/3; CW, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 9.0 million; Fox, 6.7 million; ABC, 5.5 million; NBC, 3.5 million; CW, 1.4 million.

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