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‘Two and a Half Men’ Series Finale Draws More Than 13 Million Viewers

UPDATE: In updated Nielsen national estimates released Friday afternoon, CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (4.5/15 in 18-49, 17.49 million viewers overall) and “Two and a Half Men” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 13.52 million viewers overall) were adjusted up a tenth while “The Odd Couple” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 13.57 million viewers overall) held at its preliminary score.

The 3.1 for “Odd Couple” is about 10% higher than the best score of previous timeslot occupant “Mom” in the same 8:30 p.m. time period (2.8). Starting next week, a repeat “Big Bang Theory” will be airing at 9 leading into “Mom” at its new time.

At ABC, both “Scandal” (3.3/10 in 18-49, 9.62 million viewers overall) and “How to Get Away With Murder” (2.9/9 in 18-49, 8.86 million viewers overall) went up a tick in the nationals, with the former matching its best non-premiere score (fall or winter) of the season.  ABC edged ahead of CBS for the night’s lead in 18-49 (2.9 to 2.8), meaning the Alphabet won all four Thursdays of the February sweep outright in 18-49 for the first time in eight years.

Univision finished ahead of both NBC and Fox for the night with its 27th annual edition of “Premio Lo Nuestro” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.60 million viewers overall). Locally during primetime, the Latin music awards show made Univision the No. 1 broadcast network in adults 18-49 in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston and Dallas.


A few million “Two and a Half Men” fans who abandoned the show in recent years turned out for the show’s series finale Thursday, teaming with “The Big Bang Theory” and the premiere of the rebooted “Odd Couple” to lift CBS to its strongest performance on the night since “Thursday Night Football” in late October.

ABC’s lineup held up very well, though, with each of its TGIT dramas up week to week and the net tying CBS for the night’s 18-49 lead.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the 262nd and final episode of “Two and a Half Men” averaged a 3.1 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 13.2 million viewers overall — rising week to week by nearly 50% for the show’s best numbers since the spring of 2013. It placed a close second to ABC’s “Scandal” for the 9 o’clock hour’s 18-49 lead while winning in adults 25-54, key male demos and total viewers.

“Two and a Half Men” delivered about as many total viewers as last year’s “How I Met Your Mother” finale on CBS, though the latter was considerably stronger in the demo (5.4 rating) and grew by 54% week to week for its finale.

“The Big Bang Theory” was the night’s dominant program as usual (4.4 rating/15 share in adults 18-49, 17.2 million viewers overall), and “The Odd Couple” followed with timeslot-winning results of its own (3.1/10 in 18-49, 13.6 million viewers overall). The “Odd Couple” demo rating is nearly on par with the 3.2 that “Scorpion” delivered with its series premiere on a Monday last September (behind a bigger “Bang”) and it ranks second to ABC’s “Black-ish” among this season’s comedy debuts.

In both adults 25-54 and total viewers, “Odd Couple” stands as the season’s No. 1-rated comedy premiere.

“Odd Couple’s” roughly 70% retention of “The Big Bang Theory” in 18-49 is a bit better than the premieres of “The Crazy Ones” (64%) and “The Millers” (63%), though both of these half-hours delivered higher overall demo ratings since “Bang” was bigger on those nights.

CBS tied with ABC for the night’s 18-49 lead, with the Eye pulling ahead in adults 25-54 and total viewers and ABC prevailing in adults 18-34 and all female demos. If ABC holds at least a tie for the night’s lead in the nationals (there’s a chance it could edge out CBS), it would be the first time in eight years that it has won all four Thursdays in the February sweep in 18-49.

Despite the stronger CBS comedy presence on the night, the Alphabet’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall), “Scandal” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall) and “How to Get Away With Murder” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall) all grew from last week. “Murder” ends its first season next week with a two-hour episode.

ABC’s TGIT lineup made it the most social network on Thursday, according to Nielsen Twitter data, with Scandal at No. 1 (321,696 tweets), “Murder” at No. 2 (140,606 tweets) and “Grey’s” at No. 2 (98,441 tweets). All three series noticed double-digit increases week to week in social activity.

Also, NBC’s “The Blacklist” held steady (1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) and its 10 p.m. rookie “Allegiance” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) was up 0.2 in its third week, but leadoff hitter “The Slap” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) was down 0.3 from its soft week-earlier premiere. “Blacklist” continues to be a huge gainer in DVR playback, with last week’s episode spiking by a series-record 85% in 18-49 (1.72 to 3.18) and by nearly 5 million total viewers (8.2 million to 13.1 million).

Joining “Allegiance” and “How to Get Away With Murder” in showing week-to-week gains was CBS’ 10 p.m. drama entry, “Elementary” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall), though it merely managed to match its season high.

At Fox, “American Idol” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall) was down 0.2 from last week, and “Backstrom” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) slid 0.3 from last week’s mini-surge.

CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall) and “Reign” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.0 million viewers overall) were average.

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