This may have been a season dominated in the ratings by promising newcomers like Fox’s “Empire,” ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” and CBS’ “Scorpion,” but last week it was time for veterans to shine.
Among those high-performing staples was “NCIS” on CBS, which was the No. 1-rated program for the week, drawing 14.9 million viewers for its April 28 episode, according to Nielsen estimates. Fellow crime procedural “Law and Order: SVU” on NBC also fared well, finishing in tenth place. “SVU” was launched back into top-10 territory as the conclusion to a three-show crossover storyline, which began on “Chicago Fire” and then moved on to “Chicago PD.”
Another staunchly popular drama last week was “Grey’s Anatomy,” with viewers eagerly tuning into the ABC medical soap to see how showrunner Shonda Rhimes would handle the fallout following the death of a beloved character. The two-hour “Grey’s” drew 8.7 million viewers, good for No. 14 in the rankings.
It was also a strong week for comings and goings. The season finale of CBS’ “Blue Bloods” drew its largest audience since February, pulling in 11.2 million viewers and coming in fifth place in the ratings. ABC’s “Secrets and Lies” also hit a high with its season finale, drawing 6.5 million viewers.
New show “Beyond the Tank,” a spin-off of “Shark Tank” on ABC, did well in its first week, drawing 6.4 million viewers in its first outing.
The 10th anniversary special for “Dancing with the Stars” was another big event for ABC; with 10 million tuning in for the extravaganza, it was the seventh-highest-rated program of the week.
Cable programming was topped by round one of the NFL Draft on Thursday on ESPN, raking in 7.03 million viewers. This year’s turnout was down about 20% from last year’s all-time high, when contenders such as Johnny Manziel generated lots of interest.
The football power struggle was the only cable outing able to outdo the power struggles of Westeros, with “Game of Thrones” netting 6.81 million viewers on HBO.
The networks were led once more by CBS, which averaged 8.31 million viewers per evening. The Eye had 13 of the top 20 shows for the week, and four out of the top five programs.
CBS finished ahead of ABC, which averaged 6.48 million viewers for the week. NBC drew an average of 5.59 viewers per night, and Fox drew an average of 3.4 million.
For the week of April 27 to May 3, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “NCIS,” CBS, 14.9 million; “NCIS: New Orleans,” CBS, 14.5 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 13.9 million; “Dancing with the Stars,” ABC, 13.2 million; “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 11.3 million; “The Voice,” NBC, 10.5 million; “Dancing with the Stars 10th Anniversary Show,” ABC, 10 million; “Madam Secretary,” CBS, 9.7 million; “The Voice – Tuesday,” NBC, 9.5 million; “Law and Order: SVU,” NBC, 9.3 million.