‘Scandal,’ ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Power ABC But CBS Takes Thursday With a Big ‘Bang’

Timeslot switch lifts the Eye's 'Two and a Half Men,' 'Crazy Ones'

Scandal Ratings

ABC hasn’t had much to cheer about on the ratings front in a while, but the return of its Thursday dramas changed that as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” ruled their hours in demos. CBS still won the night behind “The Big Bang Theory,” while its timeslot flip for “The Crazy Ones” and “Two and a Half Men” produced a higher overall rating.

The Alphabet’s strong performance closing out primetime helped boost latenight’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” which featured “Scandal” star Kerry Washington and hit a season high. “JKL” finished within striking distance of NBC’s “Tonight Show,” which saw its lowest scores to date with Jimmy Fallon.

Looking at the primetime shows in detail, ABC started slow the 8 p.m. special “Countdown to the Oscars” (1.0 rating/3 share in adults 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) but then surged with “Grey’s Anatomy” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) and “Scandal” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall), which were back with their first original episodes since their fall finales on Dec. 12. “Grey’s” won its hour in all key categories and was up about 10% from its most recent episode, and “Scandal” beat its combined CBS-NBC drama competition in 18-49, edging up a bit from its Dec. 12 original.

For the night, ABC finished within a tick of CBS for the 18-49 lead while leading in adults 18-34 and all female demos.

At CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” (4.9/16 in 18-49, 17.5 million viewers overall) was down a bit from its most recent original of three weeks ago but it virtually matched its combined ABC-NBC-Fox-CW competition in adults 18-49 for the 8 o’clock half-hour (4.9 vs. 5.0) and was the night’s No. 1 program across the board. “The Millers” followed (2.8/9 in 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall), winning its timeslot in 18-49 over Fox’s “American Idol” (2.8 to 2.4) for the first time and rising a bit from three weeks ago.

At 9 p.m., “Two and a Half Men” logged its best scores since its season premiere (2.5/7 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall), rising about 20% in 18-49 vs. the average for its two most recent originals (1.95). “Crazy Ones” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall) was up 12% from its last original (1.9 vs. 1.7), and it and “Men” combined to give CBS a second-place finish for the hour. Closing out the night, “Elementary” was on the low side (1.6/5 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall) and seemed to be impacted by the return of “Scandal.”

Fox’s “American Idol” (2.3/7 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall) was about in line with last week’s demo score and up in total viewers, placing second for its hour, while “Rake” drifted downward to a demo low (0.8/2 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall).

NBC resumed its Thursday lineup after three weeks off for the Olympics with modest, but consistent, results throughout the night.  “Community” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) and “Parks and Recreation” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall) were followed by “Hollywood Game Night” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall), which performed much better than the 0.7 average for half-hours “Sean Saves the World” and “The Michael J. Fox Show” over their final three weeks in January.

CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 1.9 million viewers overall) and “Reign” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) were on the low side.

In latenight, “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” prevailed but by its smallest margins to date. In metered-market overnights, “Tonight” did a 3.5 household rating/9 share to a 3.0/8 for “Jimmy Kimmel” and a 2.4/6 for “Late Show With David Letterman” (2.4/6). And in the 25 markets where 18-49 data was available, Fallon’s 1.4 rating/7 share was followed closely by Kimmel’s 1.2/3 and still well ahead of “Late Show” (0.6/3).

Kimmel won in 18-49 in three of the top four markets: New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

In the 12:35 a.m. hour, NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” also had its lowest metered-market overnight score to date (1.7 household rating/6 share), but still beat out CBS’ “Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson” (1.7/6 to 1.1/4). ABC’s half-hour “Nightline” drew a 2.0/7 — its best in weeks — but still finished a bit behind “Late Night” in their common half-hour (2.0/7 to 1.8/6).

“Nightline” did pull even with “Late Night” head-to-head in 18-49 (0.8/5), wiith “Late Night’s” full-duration average (0.7/5) easily beating “Late, Late Show” (0.3/2).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.5/8; ABC, 2.4/7; Fox, 1.5/5; NBC, 1.1/3; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 10.5 million; ABC, 7.8 million; Fox, 6.6 million; NBC, 3.2 million; CW, 1.6 million.