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Thursday Ratings: NBC’s ‘Blacklist’ Closes Gap on ABC’s ‘Scandal’

ABC’s “Scandal” continues to be the drama leader in demos over NBC’s “The Blacklist” in their high-profile Thursday battles, but a slump by the former has allowed the latter to close the gap. Last night, “The Blacklist” edged up while “Scandal” hit another low, and that softness extended to 10 p.m., where the Alphabet’s “American Crime” dipped further in its third week.

CBS won the night in preliminary nationals thanks to its coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which averaged a 2.0 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 6.5 million viewers overall on the net’s stations from 8 to 11 p.m., according to Nielsen. The tournament coverage overall Thursday averaged a 6.6 household rating/14 share across CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV, which is up 10% from last year and the best ever in the 25 years that the day featured all-day coverage with four television windows.

Looking at Thursday’s entertainment programming, ABC held solid in the night’s opening hour with “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall), matching last week’s score and winning its time period in demos. “Scandal” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) also won its hour in 18-49 but was down about 10% from last week and 20% from two weeks ago. ABC notes that “Scandal” is one of the shows most impacted by spring break at colleges, and suggests that last night’s episode should see more DVR playback than usual.

Closing out the night, “American Crime” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) placed second in its time period, down 0.2 from last week and 0.8 lower than its March 5 premiere.

At NBC, “Dateline” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall) spiked week-to-week by 33% (0.3) as it chronicled the story of arrest of Robert Durst. That seemed to help “The Blacklist” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), which was up a tenth from last week and hit a five-week high in total viewers. The 0.5 deficit to “Scandal” is the closest finish yet for the James Spader-fronted drama, which could pull even closer in Live+3.

“The Slap” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall) was up a tick at 10 p.m. for the Peacock.

Fox aired a two-hour “American Idol” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall), which was on par with last week.

And at CW, “The Vampire Diaries” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) edged up from last week’s low while “Reign” held steady (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall)

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.0/7; ABC, 1.9/6; Fox, 1.8/6; NBC, 1.2/4; Univision, 1.1/4; Telemundo, 0.6/2; CW, 0.5/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 8.4 million; ABC, 7.1 million; CBS, 6.5 million; NBC, 6.1 million; Univision, 3.0 million; Telemundo, 1.6 million; CW, 1.3 million.

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