The first Thursday of the new year was a busy one on the broadcast networks, with a pair of femme-fronted series — CBS comedy “Angel From Hell” and NBC drama “Shades of Blue” — taking advantage of the absence of ABC’s tough drama lineup to open with promising results. “Shades of Blue” was the more impressive of the two, building on its “The Blacklist” lead-in and dominating an hour that has been a tough one to crack for the Peacock in recent years.
CBS won Thursday overall with its “The Big Bang Theory” towering over everything else on the night. Fox had a pretty good showing with another two-hour installment of “American Idol,” which won the night and may have helped serve as something of a lead-in for “Shades of Blue,” since both feature Jennifer Lopez.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, NBC’s “Shades of Blue,” starring Lopez and Ray Liotta, averaged a 1.8 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers overall in the 10 p.m. hour. It built on its lead-in from “The Blacklist” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall) and delivered nearly as many young adults in its hour as the combined tallies at CBS and ABC. And in a good sign, “Shades” maintained in 18-49 rating from its first half-hour to its second.
Though “Parenthood” was a decent performer for a few years, NBC has largely struggled in the Thursday-at-10 hour since “ER” exited. The 1.8 for “Shades of Blue” is a big step up from the two dramas to bow in the hour in 2015: “Allegiance” in February (1.1) and “The Player” in September (1.2). The network is seizing on an opportunity, though, with ABC’s drama lineup on a midseason break and CBS remaining soft in the hour with “Elementary.”
Overall in the Thursday-at-10 hour, “Shades of Blue” copped the best in-season rating for a regular NBC program in 18-49 since the “Awake” premiere in March 2012 (2.0) and in total viewers since the second week of “Southland” (9.6 million) in April 2009; and the last NBC Thursday premiere to draw more total viewers was “Southland” (9.9 million). Last night also marked the first time in nearly six years (since “The Marriage Ref” in March 2010) that a regular in-season NBC series has won the timeslot over its rivals.
Opening the night for NBC was the first original since mid-November for “Heroes Reborn” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall), which was down a tick from its prior episode. “Blacklist,” meanwhile, was up a tenth from its last original, which also came in mid-November, for the show’s top rating since its season premiere on Oct. 1.
At CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” (3.8/13 in 18-49, 15.7 million viewers overall) was down a bit from its monster prior original episode three weeks ago, which went on to become the most-watched scripted telecast of the television season in Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. It was followed by the steady “Life in Pieces” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) and “Mom” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall), the latter of which tied its season high. And closing the comedy block, the premiere of Jane Lynch comedy “Angel From Hell” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) mirrored the recent performance of “2 Broke Girls” in the timeslot, retaining about 90% of its lead-in and matching the 1.6 demo rating of the veteran on Dec. 17. While a decent number, “Angel From Hell” probably is on a shorter leash than “Shades of Blue” when it comes to how much of a dropoff the network will tolerate in the coming weeks.
“Elementary” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall) was up 0.2 from its most recent original on Dec. 17. It placed second to “Shades of Blue” for the 10 o’clock hour.
At Fox, “American Idol” averaged a 2.6/9 in 18-49 and 10.0 million viewers overall, helping the net win the night in both categories; it peaked at 9:30 p.m. with a . With an expected uptick in the nationals to a 2.7, “Idol” would have come within 13% of its Wednesday season premiere.
ABC is once again waving the white towel on Thursdays to start the year, resting its TGIT lineup of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” until Feb. 11. It opened the night with the season premiere of “Beyond the Tank” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall), followed by the series debut of weight-loss series “My Diet Is Better Than Yours” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall). “Diet” was down from the 0.9 delivered on the comparable night a year ago for cooking competition series “The Taste.”
CW aired repeats of “The Vampire Diaries” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.7 million viewers overall) and “The Originals” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.5 million viewers overall). Its drama “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” bows on the night in two weeks.