Chris Rock Oscars 2016
A.M.P.A.S./REX Shutterstock

This year’s Oscarcast may have been down in the ratings, but it teamed with victories on several other nights to lift ABC to its first weekly demo victory of the season — and its most lopsided relative to the competition in 16 years.

In the key adults 18-49 demo, ABC more than doubled runner-up CBS (2.7 to 1.3), winning Monday with “The Bachelor,” Wednesday (tie) with its comedy block, Saturday with NBA basketball and, of course, Sunday with the Oscars. (The net actually won four nights in “live plus-3,” with its “Grey’s Anatomy”-led Thursday lineup pulling ahead in the delayed-viewing metric.)

The demo victory was the first for ABC since last June with the NBA Finals, and the last time the network won an in-season week by a larger amount was in early 2000 with the Super Bowl. It also won with ease in total viewers (9.4 million to 7.8 million for CBS), according to Nielsen.

The Academy Awards finished as the week’s No. 1 program in adults 18-49 (10.5 rating/31 share, 34.42 million viewers overall), and stands as the top-rated entertainment telecast on any network in these categories since last year’s Oscars. This year’s show was down 5% in the demo and 8% in total viewers from last year, while posting gains in adults 18-34 (up 1%) and all key male demos.

CBS had the week’s top broadcast series in adults 18-49 with “The Big Bang Theory” (3.8/14 in 18-49, 15.94 million viewers overall), which has now done a 3.8 with each of its last six original episodes, while “NCIS” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 17.47 million viewers overall) led all series for the week in total viewers. Also for the Eye, Saturday newsmagazine “48 Hours” drew its largest audience of the season (5.77 million).

Fox was paced by the finale of drama reboot “The X-Files” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 7.60 million viewers overall) and two nights of “American Idol.” Thursday’s two-hour installment, featuring a return to the stage by season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, lifted the net to a same-day victory for the night in 18-49 (2.1/7).

NBC’s Monday series “Superstore” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 4.68 million viewers overall), “Telenovela” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.94 million viewers overall) and “The Biggest Loser” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.91 million viewers overall) all ended their seasons on an uptick. And though the net’s Thursday rookie “Shades of Blue” edged down (1.0/4 in 18-49, 4.97 million viewers overall), it delivered last week’s largest L+3 percentage gain in 18-49 for any broadcast series through Thursday (+85%).

CW closed the week strong, seeing gains Thursday with “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.47 million viewers overall) and “The 100” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.41 million viewers overall) and then Friday with a crossover storyline between “The Vampire Diaries” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.12 million viewers overall) and “The Originals” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.06 million viewers overall).

Sunday also marked the end of the February ratings month for cable, which saw CNN finish on top of its news rivals in adults 25-54 thanks in large part to its pair of debates and four town hall specials featuring candidates from both parties. In most current averages, the network posted its highest primetime ratings in both the demo (502,000) and total viewers (1.62 million) since November 2008 — roughly doubling its numbers of a year ago.

Fox News Channel led not only the news networks but all of cable in total viewers for the month (2.23 million in primetime/1.34 million in total-day), the first time the network has done this since 2003. The net, whose “The O’Reilly Factor” led cable news for the 8 p.m. hour in February in both 25-54 and total viewers, also stretched its total-day winning streak to six weeks, its best run since the spring of 2003 during the Iraq War.

And it was a rough month for MSNBC in primetime (drawing half the demo audience of CNN) but the net noted that its “Morning Joe” enjoyed its biggest advantage over CNN (“New Day”) in two years.

And on the business front, Fox Business reported its closest ever finish with longtime leader CNBC in total-day. FBN averaged 137,000 viewers during Business Day (9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. ET), while CNBC led with 212,000. And in primetime, “Lou Dobbs Tonight” scored another total-viewer victory over CNBC at 7 p.m., averaging 171,000 nightly.

 

WEEK’S TOP PRIMETIME NETWORKS
(Live plus same-day for Feb. 22-28, 2016)

Adults 18-49 rating
ABC …………………..  2.70
CBS …………………..  1.30
Fox ……………………  1.14
NBC ………………….  1.01
UNI …………………..  0.72
CW ……………………  0.68
AMC ………………….  0.65
TBS ……………………  0.56
USA …………………..  0.52
CNN ………………….  0.49
Adult Swim …………..  0.45

Total Viewers (in millions)
ABC …………………….  9.43
CBS …………………….  7.80
NBC ……………………  4.42
Fox ……………………..  3.97
CNN ……………………  2.45
FNC ……………………  2.07
UNI …………………….  1.91
CW ……………………..  1.77
HGTV …………………  1.67
USA ……………………  1.64

WEEK’S TOP PRIMETIME PROGRAMS
(Live plus same-day for Feb. 22-28, 2016)

Adults 18-49 rating
1.  88th Annual Academy Awards (ABC), 10.5/31
2.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 6.1/16
3.  Live From the Red Carpet-8 p.m. (ABC), 5.9/18
4.  Live From the Red Carpet-7:30 p.m. (ABC), 4.0/13
5.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 3.8/14
6.  Texas GOP Debate (CNN), 2.7/9
7.  Live From the Rec Carpet-7 p.m. (ABC), 2.6/9
8.  The Bachelor (ABC), 2.5/8
8.  Modern Family (ABC), 2.5/8
10.  NCIS (CBS), 2.4/8
10.  The X-Files (Fox), 2.4/8
12.  Talking Dead (AMC), 2.2/7
13.  Life in Pieces (CBS), 2.1/7
13.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 2.1/7
13.  American Idol-Thursday (Fox), 2.1/7
13.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.1/7
17.  NBA Saturday Primetime: Golden State-Oklahoma City (ABC), 2.0/8
18.  Survivor (CBS), 1.9/7
18.  The Middle (ABC), 1.9/7
18.  The Goldbergs (ABC), 1.9/7
18.  Black-ish (ABC), 1.8/7

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  88th Annual Academy Awards (ABC), 34.42
2.  Live From the Red Carpet-8 p.m. (ABC), 22.28
3.  NCIS (CBS), 17.47
4.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 15.94
5.  Live From the Red Carpet-7:30 p.m. (ABC), 15.70
6.  Texas GOP Debate (CNN), 13.10
7.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 12.79
8.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 12.60
9.  Live From the Red Carpet-7 p.m. (ABC), 11.53
10.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 10.33
11.  Scorpion (CBS), 9.87
12.  Life in Pieces (CBS), 9.21
13.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 8.92
14.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 8.82
15.  American Idol-Thursday (Fox), 8.72
16.  The Bachelor (ABC), 8.67
17.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 8.64
18.  Survivor (CBS), 8.39
19.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 8.30
20.  Modern Family (ABC), 8.10

Source: Nielsen (each 18-49 ratings point represents roughly 1.27 million viewers)

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