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Peacock Perks Up, But CBS Has It for the Week

Fox lags as 'American Idol' has its lowest-rated week ever; AMC's 'Dead' dominates in demo

The lights went back on at NBC last week as return of “The Voice” helped the net make some noise for the first time in months.

With “The Voice” going strong on two nights and “Revolution” looking solid in its return, the Peacock was rolling early. But as the rest of the week illustrated, the net still has much work to do to compete on a night-in, night-out basis.

After placing fifth in the key adults 18-49 demo (behind Univision) for eight straight weeks, NBC tied with a fading Fox for third place in 18-49, a tick behind second-place ABC, according to Nielsen estimates. CBS, getting a boost from college basketball, dominated in the demo as well as total viewers.

NBC is still in position to hold off ABC for third place at season’s end, although the Peacock’s wobbly winter made the race a lot closer than during football season. In the 10 weeks between the Pro Bowl on Jan. 27 and the return of “The Voice” last Monday, NBC finished ahead of ABC in 18-49 on just four of 70 nights.

Fox, meanwhile, continues to post the largest declines of any of the broadcast networks — off a little more than 20% year-to-year in both 18-49 and total viewers. With “American Idol” having its lowest-rated week ever, Fox failed to finish as high as first or second in 18-49 for the week — the first time that’s happened during “Idol” season since 2004.

The week was dominated in demos once again by AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” whose record 6.4 rating in adults 18-49 for its finale was 50% higher than the No. 2 show of the week, “The Voice” (4.8).

Overall for the March 25-31 frame, CBS averaged a 2.3 rating/7 share in adults 18-49, well ahead of ABC (1.7/5), NBC and Fox (both 1.6/5) and Univision and TBS (both 1.3/4). The Eye bested the Alphabet by 2 shares in 25-54 and by nearly 2 million total viewers.

At CBS, the net held up well opposite the premiere of “The Voice,” with Monday’s “2 Broke Girls” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 8.76m) and “How I Met Your Mother” (2.7/8, 6.99m) among the week’s five highest-rated scripted broadcasts. And Tuesday’s “NCIS” (3.2/9, 18.62m) matched its demo delivery of last week while drawing more total viewers than any other television program for the week.

Following “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” (2.6/7, 14.53m) was down about 10% from the previous week with the second of a two-part episode that introduced characters for a possible spinoff. And also slipping was rookie “Golden Boy” (1.4/4, 8.07m), which fell behind ABC’s “Body of Proof” (1.6/5, 9.59m).

Basketball carried CBS over the weekend, with the top primetime game coming Saturday with Wichita State-Ohio State (3.4/14, 11.29m). The conclusion of the Duke-Louisville contest spilled over into primetime on Sunday, helping lift “60 Minutes” (2.5/7, 11.67m).

ABC was paced by “Modern Family” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 9.09m), which was airing an original for the first time in four weeks and slid to a season low but still tied with “American Idol” as the night’s top Big Four series in 18-49. And the Thursday combo of “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.9/8, 9.02m) and “Scandal” (2.6/7, 7.97m) again looked good, with the latter building on the former in women 18-34 for the first time (3.5 to 3.4) and tying NBC’s returning “Revolution” as the week’s top 10 p.m. drama among young adults.

With “The Voice” as its competition, “Dancing With the Stars” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 14.47m) dropped by 25% from its premiere of the previous Monday; the contest’s results show on Tuesday, which doesn’t face “The Voice,” fared just as well as the performance episode (2.4/6, 13.43m).

Tuesday’s diving competition “Splash” (1.7/5, 6.72m) fell off more than 30% from its good premiere score, while Thursday’s “Wife Swap” (1.4/5, 4.32m) dropped by 18% in its second week and isn’t looking like the net’s answer in the troubled time period.

Comedy “Happy Endings” had a rough premiere on Friday (averaging a 0.8 in 18-49 for two episodes and 2.6 million total viewers), down from the 1.5 in the demo that “Last Man Standing” and “Malibu Country” combined for with their season finales in the hour a week earlier. “Shark Tank” rallied at 9, though, to rule as the night’s top series in 18-49 (1.8/6, 6.19m).

For NBC, the season premiere of “The Voice” on Monday (4.8/13, 13.64m) was up 14% in 18-49 and 11% in total viewers vs. its fall-season opener — matching the best demo score for a Monday entertainment series on any net since March 12 of last year (when “The Voice” did a 5.2). And Tuesday’s premiere was strong as well (4.1/12, 12.41m) as both editions of the show finished comfortably ahead of the comparable segs of “American Idol” for the week in 18-49.

After “The Voice” on Monday, “Revolution” looked pretty good for a scripted rookie coming off a four-month hiatus (2.6/7. 7.03m), but it fell off to a 2.2 in the demo in the current week.

On Wednesday, “Whitney” (1.0/3, 2.88m) wrapped its second season with meek scores, but the net rallied from 9 to 11 p.m. with “Law & Order: SVU” (1.7/5, 6.61m) and “Chicago Fire” (1.7/5, 6.85m).

Fox saw “American Idol” hit lows on Wednesday (3.2/9, 12.33m) and Thursday (2.8/9, 11.43m) as the series is really showing some softness after a lengthy run on top. For the season in most current averages (5.1 vs. 6.6), the Wednesday performance show is down 23% from last year.

The net’s weekly score wasn’t helped by the hourlong season finale of “Raising Hope” on a special night Thursday (1.3/4, 3.72m average for its two episodes), in place of “Glee.” Also dragging it down were repeats of its Sunday animated comedies and the continued weakness of “Touch” on Friday (0.5/2, 2.37m).

On the plus side, “The Following” (2.3/6, 6.66m) continues to have a solid following, with the Monday drama seeing especially strong DVR playback.

CW was led by “The Vampire Diaries” (1.2/4, 2.46m), “Supernatural” (1.0/3, 2.23m) and “Arrow” (0.9/3, 2.65m). But “The Carrie Diaries” posted more modest scores on Monday (0.4/1, 0.83m), and “Cult” is barely registering on Friday (0.1/0, 0.54m).

Univision was again the top-rated network on Friday with its novela lineup, led by “Amores Verdaderos.”

Telemundo was neck and neck with CW for sixth place among the broadcasters in total viewers and tied with it in adults 18-49. The country’s No. 2-rated Spanish-language broadcaster just wrapped its strongest quarter to date in both 18-49 (695,000) and total viewers (1.34 million).

In cable, Sunday was an epic showdown between Jesus and zombies as AMC’s season finale of “Walking Dead” (series-record 6.4/15 in 18-49, 12.42m) bested History’s fifth and final installment of mini “The Bible” (3.0/8, 11.75m). And in the same hour as those programs wrapped, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” set a ratings record for its third-season premiere (2.4/6, 4.37m).

“True Blood” remains HBO’s top-rated current series — it wrapped last June with a 2.9 demo rating and 5.2 million total viewers — but that gap is certainly closing.

Joining “Walking Dead” and “The Bible” as cable series in the weekly overall top 10 in 18-49 was A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” (3.7/10, 8.50m).

After “The Walking Dead,” the top basic cable scripted original series in 18-49 were History’s “The Vikings” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 4.74m), which benefited from “The Bible” as a lead-in, and A&E’s “Bates Motel” (1.3/3, 3.04m), which held 100% of its premiere rating in 18-49.

Elsewhere, BET’s “The Game” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.54m) opened its fifth season much lower than last year, but in line with how it ended last summer; it was renewed for a sixth season on Tuesday.

TruTV’s “Hard Core Pawn” opened its seventh season Tuesday with 3.2 million viewers, including a network series record of 1.6 million adults 18-49.

And MTV’s “Real World” bowed Wednesday to a smallish 720,000, down from the 1.20 million it drew for its most recent season opener last June.


1.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 6.4/15

2.  The Voice-Mon. (NBC), 4.8/13

3.  The Voice-Tue. (NBC), 4.1/12

4.  Duck Dynasty (A&E), 3.7/10

5.  NCAA basketball-Saturday: Wichita State vs. Ohio State (CBS), 3.4/14

6.  NCIS (CBS), 3.2/9

6.  American Idol-Wed. (Fox), 3.2/9

6.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.2/9

9.  The Bible: Part 5 (History), 3.0/8

9.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 3.0/8

11.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.9/8

12.  American Idol-Thu. (Fox), 2.8/9

12.  NCAA basketball-Thursday: Syracuse-Indiana (CBS), 2.8/9

14.  How I Met Your Mother (CBS), 2.7/8

15.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 2.6/7

15.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 2.6/7

15.  Scandal (ABC), 2.6/7

15.  Revolution (NBC), 2.6/7

15.  The Talking Dead (AMC), 2.6/7

20.  Survivor (CBS), 2.5/8

20.  60 Minutes (CBS), 2.5/7

22.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 2.4/6

22.  Dancing With the Stars results (ABC), 2.4/6

22.  Game of Thrones (HBO), 2.4/6

25.  NCAA basketball-Friday: Michigan State-Duke (CBS), 2.3/8

25.  The Amazing Race (CBS), 2.3/6

25.  The Following (Fox), 2.3/6


1.  NCIS (CBS), 18.62 million

2.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 14.53 million

3.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 14.47 million

4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 13.64 million

5.  Dancing With the Stars results (ABC), 13.43 million

6.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 12.42 million

7.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 12.41 million

8.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 12.33 million

9.  The Bible: Part 5 (History), 11.75 million

10.  60 Minutes (CBS), 11.67 million

11.  American Idol-Thursday (Fox), 11.43 million

12.  NCAA basketball-Saturday: Wichita State-Ohio State (CBS), 11.29 million

13.  Castle (ABC), 10.57 million

14.  Body of Proof (ABC), 9.59 million

15.  Survivor (CBS), 9.43 million

16.  The Amazing Race (CBS), 9.43 million

17.  Modern Family (ABC), 9.09 million

18.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 9.02 million

19.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 8.99 million

20.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 8.76 million

21.  Hawaii Five-O (CBS), 8.61 million

22.  The Good Wife (CBS), 8.59 million

23.  Duck Dynasty (A&E), 8.50 million

24.  Golden Boy (CBS), 8.07 million

25.  NCAA basketball-Thursday: Syracuse-Indiana (CBS), 7.99 million


Adults 18-49

CBS        2.92 million (2.3/7)
ABC       2.10 million (1.7/5)
NBC       2.08 million (1.6/5)
Fox        2.06 million (1.6/5)
UNI       1.69 million
TBS        1.67 million
AMC      1.06 million
USA       1.03 million
HIST      1.00 million
A&E       0.99 million

Adults 25-54

CBS        3.49 million (2.9/8)
ABC       2.66 million (2.2/6)
NBC       2.46 million (2.1/5)
Fox        2.41 million (2.0/5)
TBS        1.71 million
UNI       1.61 million
HIST     1.20 million
USA       1.10 million
A&E       1.02 million
AMC      0.96 million

Total Viewers (in millions)

CBS        9.02
ABC       7.11
NBC       5.43
Fox        5.22
TBS        3.41
UNI       3.36
HIST     2.93
USA      2.84
Disney  2.27
A&E       2.07


Adults 18-49

ABC     2.3/6 (-4)
CBS     3.0/8 (-3)
NBC     2.4/7 (-8)
Fox      2.5/7 (-22)
4-net   10.2/28 (-10)

CW        0.7/2 (-13)
TEL       0.6/2 (+20)
UNI      1.5/4 (Even)

Adults 25-54

ABC      2.8/7 (-10)
CBS     3.9/10 (-3)
NBC      2.9/7 (-3)
Fox       2.9/7 (-22)
4-net    12.5/31 (-9)

CW        0.8/2 (Even)
TEL      0.6/1 (+20)
UNI      1.6/4 (+7)

Adults 18-34

ABC      1.7/6 (-6)
CBS       2.0/7 (Even)
NBC      1.9/6 (-10)
Fox       2.3/8 (-19)
4-net    7.9/27 (-9)

CW         0.7/2 (-13)
TEL        0.5/2 (Even)
UNI       1.3/4 (-19)

Total Viewers (in millions)

ABC       7.85 (-5)
CBS      12.15 (+1)
NBC        7.11 (-7)
Fox         7.12 (-21)
4-net     34.23 (-7)

CW         1.83 (+4)
TEL       1.30 (+6)
UNI       3.74 (+4)

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