Thursday Ratings: ‘Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Scandal’ Hit Lows on Lightly Watched Night

big Bang Theory Ratings CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Thursday’s two biggest series — CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and ABC’s “Scandal” — hit season lows last night as overall viewership levels were depressed on the eve of a holiday weekend. CBS, whose lineup was back after two weeks off, won the night in key demos, with its “Mom” catching “Scandal” in young adults.

According to Nielsen, only 17.8% of adults 18-24 were watching television during any average minute last night — down 16% from last week (when March Madness basketball on CBS and TBS) and 19.5% lower than last year. Spring breaks and pre-holiday happenings are the mostly likely drivers of the decline.

Looking at the Thursday numbers, “The Big Bang Theory” averaged a 3.2 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 13.4 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock half-hour, the top show of the night but down a steep 27% (1.2) from its prior original of three weeks ago (4.4) and easily the show’s season low. A year ago, its first episode back from its college basketball break did a 4.9 rating. (Easter was later in April last year.)

“The Odd Couple” also hit lows (1.9/7 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall), down 24% (0.6) from its most recent episode but retaining a similar percentage of its “Big Bang” lead-in. “Odd Couple” was followed by a special repeat of “The Big Bang Theory” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall), and a new “Mom” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall). “Mom” was down just 0.2 from its last episode and earned a share of the 18-49 time period lead at 9:30 (tied with “Scandal”). “Elementary” closed things out (1.2/4 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall), down to its lowest score since the fall but enough to win its hour among the major networks in all categories.

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.8/7 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall), “Scandal” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) and “American Crime” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) were all at season lows. “Grey’s” was down 0.2 or 0.3 from last week (depending on whether it’s revised up to a 1.9, which is possible), and “Scandal” and “American Crime” both dropped 0.2 “Scandal” and “Grey’s” remained the night’s top two dramas in 18-49.

At NBC, “Dateline” continues to be a credible performer in the 8 o’clock hour (1.3/5 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and is helping lead-out “The Blacklist” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) avoid big drops. Though “Blacklist” matched its season low set last week, this was its most competitive finish relative to “Scandal” in 18-49, and it beat the ABC drama in total viewers for a third straight week. The finale of “The Slap” held steady (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall).

Fox’s “Bones” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) was down 0.2 from last week’s return, and “Backstrom” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) dropped a tenth.

CW aired special off-night repeats of “The Flash” at both 8 (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.9 million viewers overall) and 9 (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.8 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 1.9/7; ABC, 1.7/6; NBC, 1.2/4; Fox, 0.9/3; CW, 0.2/1.

In total viewers: CBS, 8.9 million; ABC, 6.2 million; NBC, 5.8 million; Fox, 3.9 million; CW, 0.9 million.

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    Kaley Cuoco should have never cut her hair. Was the only reason that Millions of men watched. We don’t care about the Jewish girls or the little Jewish men on that show.

  2. JoeMcG says:

    It’s simple really… with DVR and VOD options, no one is married to their TV on a given day or time, leaving us to live life on our terms. With many people getting Friday off, this past Thursday night was the get-away night for many. Still others were off to Church for Holy Thursday services. It’s no surprise this Thursday was down.

  3. Pat P says:

    Scandal has not been good this year, I would expect the ratings to drop.

  4. Richard Kellie says:

    I think we need a new rating system. I hardly ever watch “the night of” and catch my favourites on line!

  5. Let’s face it – Thursday Night has changed. “Scandal” is getting just a bit too far out there. It’s almost getting as absurd as “Revenge” following it’s epic Season 1 start. Does anyone care about Kerry Washington’s overacting?

    As for “The Big Bang Theory”, it’ really hasn’t hit with any particular episode. It took 3 episodes to say “Good-bye Mrs. Wolowitz” which was so poor in execution, but, that aside, there hasn’t been much of an arc like in past seasons. Raj is a great character, but his relationship with Emily isn’t resonating with viewers. He needs someone on his “metrosexual” level and she’s a boring actress. The relationship with Penny and Leonard isn’t working, where they had only a squabble about finances, it’s not an avenue that they have played with. In the end cards, Chuck Lorre has made mention of how hard it is to write comedy, but I think he’s been lazy since he scored a 3 year deal to keep this show on the air.

    Now, I know that they are still higher rated shows than the rest, but you can’t disagree that it seems like both have gotten soft in their run. Are we watching a final decent into another “Two & a Half Men” or “Glee”, where we just beg them to end it?

  6. fadeaway says:

    Scandal has ceased to be entertaining. Time for it to fade away.

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