Fox’s “Empire” continued its amazing growth streak last week but it wasn’t enough to help the net keep CBS from stepping up to the podium as the week’s winner in key demos.

The Eye edged out NBC and ABC in adults 18-49, with Fox just a a bit behind them. All four broadcasters earned the same 5 share in adults 18-49 as the ratings race continues to be competitive in the second half of the season.

CBS opened up a little bit of a cushion in adults 25-54 (2.3 rating to a 2.0 for runner-up NBC) while winning with ease as usual in total viewers. The Eye had 14 of the week’s 20 most-watched programs, including at least two apiece on every night but Saturday.

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” was again the week’s No. 1 program in adults 18-49 (7.0 rating/19 share) and towered over everything else in cable among total viewers (13.78 million, fourth among all programs). Still, Fox News was the overall leader in cable for a second straight week, as its “The O’Reilly Factor” again accounted for four of cable’s 20 most-watched primetime programs.

For CBS last week, “Big Bang Theory” was far and away its top program in young adults (4.4/16 in 18-49, 16.13 million viewers overall), and it was joined by the other three half-hours of the net’s Thursday comedy block on the week’s list of top 15 programs in 18-49. Airing immediately behind “Big Bang,” new Matthew Perry-Thomas Lennon half-hour “The Odd Couple” dropped off some in its fourth week (2.5/8 in 18-49, 10.24 million viewers overall) but remains TV’s top-rated new comedy in 18-49 heading into its two-week hiatus during the college basketball tournament.

Among the net’s other standouts last week was Monday’s “NCIS: Los Angeles” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 10.72 million viewers overall), which drew its second best 18-49 score of the season to out-rate the same week’s episode of “NCIS: New Orleans” (season-low 1.6/5 in 18-49, 12.61 million viewers overall) for the first time.

Among recent additions, Wednesday’s “CSI: Cyber” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 9.71 million viewers overall) retained 94% of its premiere-week demo rating, though its task will get more difficult as it goes up against original dramas on the competition in coming weeks. On Sunday, “Battle Creek” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 6.79 million viewers overall) was up a tenth in its third week, retaining 90% of its 18-49 “The Good Wife” lead-in and building on the vet in 18-34 and key male demos.

NBC again did most of its damage early in the week with its editions of “The Voice” on Monday and Tuesday, both of which did a 3.8/12 in 18-49 and nearly 14 million viewers overall. Tuesday’s episode led into another strong “Chicago Fire” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 8.57 million viewers overall), which was the No. 1 drama of the week on any net in 18-49 for a second straight week.

The net added a fourth “Dateline” to its lineup last week, with Thursday’s premiere of “Dateline: The Real Blacklist” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.51 million viewers overall) outperforming the final three episodes of “The Slap” to air in the same 8 p.m. hour. “Slap,” meanwhile, fell to its low as it moved to 10 p.m. (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.74 million viewers overall).

ABC, which finished first or second in 18-49 for a seventh straight week, was paced by a winning Monday courtesy of its finale of “The Bachelor” (2.8/9 in 18-49, 9.68 million viewers overall), though this year’s closer was off more than 10% from last year’s.

The net’s new Thursday drama “American Crime” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 5.76 million viewers overall) dropped a sizable 30% from its week-earlier premiere, with some of that attributed to a 10% falloff for lead-in “Scandal” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.25 million viewers overall), which hit its season low but still was the night’s No. 2 program (behind “Big Bang Theory”).

Sunday’s “Secrets & Lies” is holding up better (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.45 million), matching the previous week’s score and remaining within a tick of its March 1 premiere. In Live+3, its second episode held 95% of its premiere’s rating in 18-49 (2.1 vs. 2.0).

Fox’s “Empire” (5.8/17 in 18-49, 14.92 million viewers overall) held steady in 18-49 and was again second to only “The Walking Dead” among all programs or the week. In total viewers, it headed into this week’s two-hour finale with a ninth straight week of growth and has now added about 5 million viewers since its premiere.

Elsewhere for the net, “The Following” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.51 million viewers overall) came down half a ratings point in its second week as its “Gotham” lead-in switched from an original to a repeat.

And on Sunday, “Last Man on Earth” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.76 million viewers overall) was down 0.2 week-to-week but continues to be a strong DVR performer — not surprising given its male skew and tough timeslot competition from “The Walking Dead.” In L+3, the Will Forte comedy added more than 1 full ratings point with its second episode on March 8 (3.0 vs. 1.9), after packing on 1.4 ratings points in L+7 for its March 1 premiere (3.8 vs. 2.4).

“The Walking Dead” and “Talking Dead” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 5.93 million viewers overall), itself a top-10 show among 18-49ers for the week, propelled AMC to a first-place finish among cable networks in 18-49.

“Better Call Saul” continues to perform well for the net on Mondays (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.57 million viewers overall), and once again doubled its same-night ratings in Live+3, hitting a 2.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.22 million total viewers. It’s been at the same 2.6 rating for three weeks now, which puts it behind only “Walking Dead” and “Talking Dead” among all cable series.

And outside of primetime, and despite its midnight start time on Sunday, “Comic Book Men” drew a season-high 1.1 million viewers in live+same-day.

At A&E, the third-season premiere of “Bates Motel” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.14 million viewers overall) was down rather sharply from its year-ago opener (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.07 million viewers overall) but it was cable’s No. 1 scripted program in its Monday-at-9 timeslot. It was followed at 10 p.m. by the series premiere of “The Returned” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.54 million viewers overall), an American remake of the French series.

USA’s “Dig” (0.42 rating in 18-49, 1.45 million viewers overall) was down about 25% from its week-earlier premiere (0.56 rating in 18-49, 1.83 million viewers overall) but may absorb some of that loss in Live+3. The show’s premiere-episode audience more than doubled with three days’ worth of time-shifted viewing (to 3.77 million viewers).

E!’s premiere of “The Royals” on Sunday did a 0.50 rating in 18-49 and 1.41 million viewers overall, airing behind “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” (1.24 rating in 18-49, 2.55 million viewers overall). Among all scripted cable originals on the night, it ranked third in 18-49 (behind “Walking Dead” and “Shameless”).

At Disney XD, Monday’s cliffhanger episode of “Gravity Falls” became the network’s most-watched series telecast ever by drawing 2.06 million viewers in Live+3. It’s also the net’s No. 1 animated series telecast to date in kids 2-11 (1.02 million), kids 6-11 (824,000), kids 6-14 (1.15 million) and boys 6-14 (655,000). In total viewers and these key kids demos, it grew by more than 30% from its same-night averages.

Bravo’s “Thicker Than Water” on March 8 hit a season-best 1.8 million viewers in Live+3, up double-digits in both overall audience and adults 18-49 vs. the previous week.


(Week of Feb. 22-March 1, 2015 — Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
CBS                          1.6/5
ABC                          1.5/5
NBC                          1.5/5
Fox                           1.4/5
UNI                            1.1/4
AMC                          0.8/2
ESPN                        0.6/2
TBS                           0.6/2
USA                           0.6/2
Telemundo                  0.5/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS                           9.19
NBC                           6.37
ABC                           5.64
Fox                            4.55
UNI                            2.98
Fox News                  1.86
Disney                       1.78
AMC                          1.78
ESPN                        1.74
TBS                           1.62

(Week of March 9-15, 2015 — Live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
1.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 7.0/19
2.  Empire (Fox), 5.8/17
3.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.4/16
4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 3.8/12
4.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 3.8/12
6.  Talking Dead (AMC), 3.0/9
7.  The Bachelor finale (ABC), 2.8/9
8.  The Bachelor: After the Final Rose (ABC), 2.7/8
8.  Scandal (ABC), 2.7/8
10.  The Odd Couple (CBS) 2.5/8
11.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 2.4/8
12.  Survivor (CBS), 2.2/8
12.  NCIS (CBS), 2.2/7
12.  The Big Bang Theory, 9 p.m.-r (CBS), 2.2/7
12.  Mom (CBS), 2.2/7
16.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.1/8
16.  Chicago Fire (NBC), 2.1/7
16.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 2.1/7
16.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 2.1/6
16.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.1/6

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NCIS (CBS), 16.22
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 16.13
3.  Empire (Fox), 14.92
4.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 13.95
5.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 13.78
6.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 13.73
7.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 12.61
8.  60 Minutes (CBS), 11.49
9.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 11.26
10.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 11.07
11.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 10.72
12.  Scorpion (CBS), 10.59
13.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.32
14.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 10.24
15.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 9.71
15.  CSI: Cyber (CBS), 9.71
17.  The Bachelor: After the Final Rose (ABC), 9.68
17.  The Bachelor finale (ABC), 9.68
19.  The Big Bang Theory, 9 p.m.-r (CBS), 9.39
20.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 9.38