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Fox Tops Week in Demos, Surpasses NBC for Season

But CBS vets 'Two and a Half Men' and 'NCIS' beat singing show in young adults for first time

It took longer than anybody would have expected, but Fox has leapfrogged NBC for second place in the season’s demo derby.

Three nights of “American Idol” — even if the show isn’t the ratings dynamo it once was — lifted Fox to its second straight weekly victory among young adults. And with the Peacock still reeling following its surprisingly strong start to the season, Fox appears headed for a second-place finish come May.

CBS, meanwhile, ran second in demos last week but is poised to sweep the season in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers.

Last week also saw declines for History’s big Sunday scripted programs, mini “The Bible” and series “The Vikings,” though the former ranked among the week’s top primetime programs. And then, of course, there’s AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which ruled as TV’s No. 1 program for the week among adults 18-49.

Overall for the March 4-10 frame, Fox led in adults 18-49 with a 2.3 rating/7 share, followed by CBS (1.9/5), Univision (1.8/5), ABC (1.5/4), NBC (1.1/3) and top cabler History (0.9/2). Fox also led in adults 25-54 (2.9/7 to 2.7/7 for CBS) while the Eye won big in total viewers.

Univision moved up to sole possession of third place in 18-49 for the first time in 2013 thanks in large part to Friday’s series finale of “Por Ella Soy Eva” (For Her, I’m Eva), which was TV’s No. 1 program on Friday in 18-49 (3.0/10, 6.62 million viewers overall) and lifted the Spanish-language broadcaster to victory on the night. Univision has now finished in at least fourth place for six straight frames.

For Fox, “American Idol” is now being surpassed by multiple shows for the week, but all three of its editions ranked among the top seven programs in 18-49, led by Wednesday (3.8/10, 12.84m).

With CBS airing repeats on Monday, Fox finished on top in 18-49 on the night for the first time this season with its drama combo of “Bones” (2.2/6, 8.41m) and “The Following” (2.8/7), with the latter rookie building on its vet’s every week in the demo.

At CBS, Thursday’s “Two and a Half Men” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 13.54m) beat Fox’s “Idol” head to head in 18-49 for the first time, while lead-in “The Big Bang Theory” (5.5/17, 17.63m) continues to dominate the reality show kicking off the night and was again the week’s No. 2 program in 18-49.

Tuesday’s “NCIS” (3.4/10, 20.81m) beat a special edition of “Idol” on the night in 18-49, marking the first time the show has done it (they opposed each other regularly up until two seasons ago). It was also the week’s No. 1 broadcast drama in 18-49, and bested everybody in total viewers — drawing at least 20 million for the seventh straight firstrun episode.

New drama “Golden Boy” dropped a bit in its second Tuesday preview (1.6/5 in 18-49, 9.40m) but still won its hour, resulting in CBS keeping it on Tuesday for the rest of its run. (An already skedded Friday episode didn’t do much, pulling a 1.0/3 in 18-49).

ABC was led by “The Bachelor” (2.8/7, 8.53m) and had reason to be pleased that its Sunday dramas “Once Upon a Time” (2.3/6, 7.64m) and “Revenge” (2.0/5, 6.96m) bounced back from their recent low scores. Though capping off Sunday, newcomer “Red Widow” is struggling (1.1/3, 5.31m).

NBC is counting the days until “The Voice” and “Revolution” return on March 25, but in the meantime suffered through another brutal week, especially with its top Wednesday and Thursday shows in repeat. The Peacock’s 1.1 rating in 18-49 is the lowest on record for a Big Four network in season, and the net’s overall viewership (3.53 million) wasn’t too far ahead of cabler History (3.35 million).

Two-hour reality shows bookending the week — “The Biggest Loser” (2.2/6, 5.94m) and “Celebrity Apprentice” (1.8/4, 5.04m) — were the net’s top programs in 18-49. Another bright spot was Friday’s return of “Grimm” (1.5/5, 4.90m).

Otherwise, though, its was dragged down by the low-rated likes of “Deception” (1.1/3, 3.35m), “The New Normal” (0.9/2, 2.44m), “Smash” (0.8/2, 2.68m) and the returning “Fashion Star” (0.8/3, 2.96m), among others.

CW’s strongest show, during a frame when “The Vampire Diaries” aired a repeat, was Tuesday’s “Hart of Dixie” (0.6/2, 1.50m), which did a 0.7 in the net’s target 18-34 demo.

In cable, History’s miniseries “The Bible” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 10.82m) dropped off by more than 20% from its week-earlier preem, while the series that airs behind it, “The Vikings” (1.3/3, 6.21m), declined by more than 30%.

It was another big week for A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” (3.6/12, 8.16m), which ranked fifth among all primetime programs in 18-49.

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