This television season was highlighted by some strong first-year drama performers like “Empire,” “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Scorpion,” but with each of these shows done for the year, it was a trio of veteran hourlongs that topped the ratings charts last week.

In Nielsen’s rankings for the April 27-May 3 frame, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” emerged as easily the No. 1-rated ad-supported drama series among adults 18-49 (2.6 rating/9 share, 8.74 million viewers overall) as viewers tuned in for the first episode following the surprising death one week earlier of Patrick Dempsey’s character Derek. It was followed in the drama demo rankings by NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (2.1/7), which was boosted by its crossover storyline with “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD,” and CBS’ “NCIS” (2.0/7), which was also the week’s most-watched primetime program overall with 14.85 million viewers.

Combined, “Grey’s,” “SVU” and “NCIS” have been around for 39 seasons and have aired nearly 900 episodes.

ABC won among the networks in adults 18-49 for a second straight week and has now placed first or second in 12 of the past 14 weeks. Its 1.5 rating/5 share beat out CBS (1.3/5), NBC (1.2/4) and Fox (1.0/4).

In addition to top drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC got a boost from Sunday rookie “Secrets & Lies,” which hit a high in its finale (1.8/5). ABC also had four of the week’s top seven comedies in adults 18-49 with its Wednesday quartet led by “Modern Family” (2.9/10), and introduced short-run reality spinoff “Beyond the Tank” to good ratings on Friday behind “Shark Tank” (both shows won their timeslots with a 1.6 rating).

In the seasonal race among adults 18-49, NBC leads CBS by two tenths (2.5 to 2.3), with ABC a competitive third (2.2). But a fading NBC, which was at a 2.6 just three weeks ago, figures to fall back to a 2.4 by the end of the current week. That would leave it a tick ahead of CBS, with the Eye still having a slim chance of rounding up to a tie at 2.4 by season’s end. ABC (2.2) and Fox (2.0) are locked in to third and fourth place, respectively.

CBS holds a slight advantage over NBC for the adults 25-54 crown (3.2 to 3.1), and figures to win by two tenths when all is said and done (3.2 to 3.0). And the Eye will cruise to victory in total viewers for the 12th time in 13 seasons.

In other highlights last week, CBS saw solid season-enders for Thursday comedy “Mom” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 8.78 million viewers overall) and “Blue Bloods” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 11.28 million viewers overall), with the latter drawing its largest overall audience since February.

ABC had one of its best Tuesdays in a while, with “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.56 million viewers overall) sandwiched by a pair of specials: “Dancing With the Stars 10th Anniversary Show” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 10.07 million viewers overall) and “Captive: A Journey of Hope and Survival” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.88 million viewers overall).

CW had another good Tuesday, beating Fox in adults 18-49 behind “The Flash” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.93 million viewers overall) and “iZombie” (0.7/2 n 18-49, 1.69 million viewers overall). Both shows were up double digits in key demos week to week, with “The Flash” hitting 10-week highs in some categories.

And Telemundo pulled closer to rival Univision thanks in part to its broadcast of the “Billboard Latin Music Awards” on Thursday (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.86 million viewers overall). These are the event’s best-ever numbers for the network, and among adults 18-49, the three-hour special ranked No. 1 in New York, Houston, Miami and Phoenix.

In the competitive evening-news ratings derby, ABC’s “World News Tonight With David Muir” beat NBC’s “Nightly News” in adults 25-54 (1.86 million vs. 1.73 million) for the seventh time in the last eight weeks. The Peacock program held a slim advantage in total viewers (7.73 million vs. 7.69 million), but the Alphabet newscast has nearly caught it after lagging by about 1.1 million during the same week a year ago.

TNT was the most-watched cable network in primetime for the week (2.5 million), led by NBA playoff action. And Fox News Channel, in a week of ongoing protests surrounding the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, was the most-watched on a total-day basis (1.2 million); the last time FNC ranked No. 1 in total day was in early February when the Jordanian pilot was killed by ISIS.

The first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday averaged 7.03 million viewers on ESPN and 1.82 million on NFL Network. Although the combined 8.85 million is one of the largest ever for the event, it was down about 20% from last year’s record-setting pace.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was the week’s second most-watched cable show with 6.81 million viewers and rated No. 1 among all primetime programs in adults 18-49 (3.6/10). And TNT’s coverage of the NBA Game 7 playoff game on Saturday between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs ranked third with 4.77 million viewers — the largest primetime audience for any first-round game this postseason.

At Lifetime, original movie “Cleveland Abduction” drew a solid 3.1 million viewers for its premiere on Saturday night.


(Week of April 27-May 3, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
ABC                     1.5/5
CBS                     1.3/5
NBC                    1.2/4
Fox                      1.0/4
UNI                     0.9/3
TEL                     0.7/2
CW                      0.6/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS                     8.31
ABC                    6.48
NBC                    5.59
Fox                      3.40
UNI                     2.45
TEL                     1.59
CW                      1.54

(Week of April 27-May 3, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.  Game of Thrones (HBO), 3.6/10
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 3.4/13
3.  NFL Draft-Thursday (ESPN), 3.1/11
4.  Modern Family (ABC), 2.9/10
5.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.6/9
5.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 2.6/8
7.  Survivor (CBS), 2.2/8
7.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.2/8
9.  The Goldbergs (ABC), 2.1/8
9.  Law & Order: SVU (NBC), 2.1/7
11.  The Middle (ABC), 2.0/8
11.  NCIS (CBS), 2.0/7
11.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 2.0/7
11.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 2.0/6
11.  Mom (CBS), 2.0/6
11.  Black-ish (ABC), 2.0/6
17.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 1.9/6
18.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 1.8/6
18.  Chicago PD (NBC), 1.8/6
18.  Secrets & Lies (ABC), 1.8/5

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  NCIS (CBS), 14.85
2.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 14.54
3.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 13.85
4.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 13.22
5.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 11.28
6.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 10.49
7.  Dancing With the Stars 10th Anniversary Show (ABC), 10.07
8.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 9.67
9.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 9.49
10.  Law & Order: SVU (NBC), 9.28
11.  Survivor (CBS), 9.25
12.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 9.16
13.  Mom (CBS), 8.78
14.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 8.74
15.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 8.72
16.  60 Minutes (CBS), 8.67
17.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 8.60
18.  Person of Interest (CBS), 8.45
19.  The Good Wife (CBS), 8.35
20.  Castle (ABC), 8.31