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‘Scandal’ Hits High, But ‘Big Bang,’ ‘Men’ Keep CBS on Top

Fox's 'Idol' and 'Glee' gain; NBC's 'The Office' surges in advance of its series finale next week

ABC’s “Scandal” is Thursday’s hottest show as the season comes to an end, surging to a series high and building off its lead-in from “Grey’s Anatomy,” which also won its hour in demos. CBS carried the night behind “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men,” while Fox’s “Glee” posted gains with its season finale.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Scandal” averaged a 3.2 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 8.9 million viewers overall — up more than 20% week to week for series highs and standing as the night’s No. 1 drama in 18-49 and 25-54 (3.7/10). This is the best 18-49 score for any 10 p.m. drama since the fifth episode of NBC’s “Revolution” in mid-October (3.3); and the 3.2 rating at 10:30 p.m. is the best for any 10 p.m. drama on any net since the second episode of “Revolution” on Sept. 24.

“Scandal” built by about 10% from “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall), which was just about in line with last week and won out in young adults over the season finales of CBS’ “Person of Interest” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 13.0 million viewers overall) and Fox’s “Glee” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall). “Person” matched last week’s average and was down a tick from its finale in the hour a year ago, while “Glee” rose 10% week to week and was down 28% from its year-ago finale on a Tuesday (airing behind a much bigger 4.4 rating for “Idol”).

In Thursday’s opening hour, CBS dominated behind “The Big Bang Theory” (4.6/16 in 18-49, 15.7 million viewers overall) and “Two and a Half Men” (3.4/11 in 18-49, 12.6 million viewers overall), with the former nearly matching last week’s average and the latter rising as it wrapped its season. Fox’s “American Idol” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall) was up about 8% week to week as it narrowed its field down to the final two contestants.

NBC’s season (and possible series) finale of “Community” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) edged up for a second straight week, tying in 18-34 rating with Fox’s “American Idol” (1.6). And following a repeat of “The Office” at 8:30 p.m. (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall), an hourlong episode of “The Office” averaged a 2.3/6 in 18-49 and 4.4 million viewers overall — up 28% week to week to a six-month high as more people checked back in to the show in advance of its series finale next week.

Next Thursday is shaping up to be a jam-packed night of finales, including “The Big Bang Theory” kicking off the night. But the biggest war will be waged later in the evening, with ABC’s finales of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” opposite NBC’s 75-minute finale of “The Office” (9-10:15) and Fox’s 127-minute “American Idol” envelope-opening (8 to 10:07 p.m.). The “Idol” finale has traditionally aired a bit over two hours, but NBC recently extended the finale of “The Office,” hoping to pick up viewers after “Grey’s” and then “Idol” wrap.

Elsewhere Thursday, ABC’s season premiere of “Wipeout” was soft (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall). And at 10, the surge from “Scandal” seemed to impact CBS’ “Elementary” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall), which dropped 10% to a low. Also in the hour, “Hannibal” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) was on par with last week.

At CW, “The Vampire Diaries” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall) and “Beauty and the Beast” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) were on par with last week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.7/8; ABC and Fox, 2.4/7; NBC, 1.5/5; Univision, 1.5/4; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.1 million; Fox, 8.6 million; ABC, 7.3 million; Univision, 3.5 million; NBC, 3.3 million; CW, 1.7 million.

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