Weekly Ratings: Jenner Interview, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Shocker Power ABC

ABC had a strong start to the May sweep last week, winning Thursday, Friday and Sunday in the key young-adults demo and rolling up its best average for any non-Oscars frame since November.

The network had the week’s two most talked-about programs in Thursday’s surprise death of Patrick Dempsey’s character Derek on “Grey’s Anatomy” and the next night’s Diane Sawyer “20/20” interview with Bruce Jenner.

Bruce Jenner: The Interview” (5.2 rating/18 share in adults 18-49, 17.10 million viewers overall) drew the best ratings for a Friday edition of “20/20” since March 2000, when Barbara Walters interviewed the parents of JonBenet Ramsey.  And no non-sports broadcast on any network has drawn a larger Friday audience since NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” in May 2002.

It was the week’s No. 1 program as well as ABC’s top primetime program of the season outside of the Oscars.

Overall, ABC led in adults 18-49 with a 1.9 rating/6 share and was followed by CBS (1.3/4), NBC and TNT (both 1.2/4) and Fox and Univision (both 1.0/3). CBS remained in control of the total-viewers race, averaging about 1 million more than runner-up ABC (8.4 million vs. 7.4 million).

“Grey’s Anatomy” (2.8/10 in 18-49, 9.55 million viewers overall) surged 33% week to week for its best demo rating (as well as its largest overall audience) since its season premiere in September. In Live+3, it rose to 12.79 million total viewers — the show’s largest audience since the second episode in October of last season (or in its last 43 original episodes).

On Sunday, ABC saw the best demo score yet for rookie drama “Secrets & Lies” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.83 million viewers overall), which matched its “Once Upon a Time” lead-in in the demo while building on the vet in total viewers for the first time. The show, which wraps its season this Sunday, opened up a wide demo advantage over competing dramas “A.D. The Bible Continues” on NBC (1.1) and “The Good Wife” on CBS (1.0).

Also for ABC, rookie comedy “Fresh Off the Boat” had a solid finish to its season (1.5/5 in 18-49, 5.08 million viewers overall). In Live+3, it spiked 11% from the previous week to a six-week high (2.1) and continued its streak of ruling as the night’s top-rated comedy in 18-49 with every original episode it aired.

Of note at CBS was a strong showing by “Survivor” (2.4/8 in 18-49, 10.19 million viewers overall), which won its hour with the show’s second best demo rating of this edition and its largest overall audience on any night since December 2013. And “CSI: Cyber” had a pretty good week, with a special Tuesday episode (1.2/4 in 18-49, 8.42 million viewers overall) building on its repeat “NCIS: New Orleans” lead-in, while Wednesday’s regular episode won its hour (1.5/5 in 18-49, 8.26 million viewers overall).

NBC was paced as usual by “The Voice” (2.6/8 in 18-49 on Monday, 2.6/9 on Tuesday), and “Chicago Fire” (1.6/5) and “The Blacklist” (1.5/5) were its top scripted series. The jury’s still out on first-year Tuesday comedy “One Big Happy” (1.1/3 in 18-49), which retained 79% of its “Undateable” lead-in (1.4).

At Fox, “Gotham” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.44 million viewers overall) was up a tenth from its soft return of the previous week, and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 2.78 million viewers overall) looked good with its first original since mid-March; it did about the same ratings as “The Simpsons” (1.5/5) and “Family Guy” (1.6/4) surrounding it.

Networks are showing unusual sweeps-month patience with some low-rated first-year shows. Both Fox’s “Weird Loners” and NBC’s “American Odyssey” did a mere 0.5 rating in adults 18-49, and though they’ve only been on two weeks, CW’s “Messengers” (0.2) and “Cedric’s Barber Battle” (0.3) are very low on Friday.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was the week’s most-watched cable series (6.71 million), while the week’s top basic cable series in adults 18-49 were VH1’s “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 3.54 million viewers overall), Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (1.6/5, 3.38 million viewers overall) and USA’s “WWE Raw” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.14 million viewers overall for the 9 p.m. hour).

TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs delivered cable’s most-watched programming of the night five times during the week. The games averaged 3.3 million viewers, with Monday’s matchup between New Orleans and Golden State (4.07 million) leading the way.

Oxygen’s inspirational docu-series “The Prancing Elites Project” averaged 1.13 million viewers and 660,000 adults 18-49 in Nielsen’s Live+3 for its Wednesday premiere and two encores. That makes it the network’s highest-rated series premiere in the demo since it was rebranded last fall. “Prancing” stood as cable TV’s third most popular primetime Wednesday reality program on Twitter, according to Social Guide.

Sunday’s “42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards” on Pop averaged nearly 900,000 viewers with its two airings to become the network’s most-watched live event since its “Live on the Red Carpet” special at the Oscars in 2007. The special was the No. 2 most popular program in Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings for the night, behind “Game of Thrones.”


(Week of April 20-26, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
1.  Bruce Jenner: The Interview (ABC), 5.2/18
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 3.6/13
3.  Game of Thrones* (HBO), 3.5/10
4.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.0/9
5.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.8/10
6.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 2.6/9
6.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 2.6/8
8.  Survivor (CBS), 2.4/8
9.  Scandal (ABC), 2.3/7
10.  Scorpion (CBS), 2.2/6
11.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 2.1/7
11.  The Goldbergs (ABC), 2.1/7
11.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 2.1/6
11.  Black-ish (ABC), 2.1/6
15.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 2.0/7
15.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 2.0/6
15.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 2.0/6
18.  Mom (CBS), 1.9/6
19.  Shark Tank (ABC), 1.8/7
19.  The Middle (ABC), 1.8/7

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.  20/20: Bruce Jenner (ABC), 17.10
2.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 14.63
3.  Dancing With the Stars (ABC), 13.42
4.  The Voice-Tuesday (NBC), 11.25
5.  Scorpion (CBS), 10.71
6.  The Voice-Monday (NBC), 10.58
7.  Madam Secretary (CBS), 10.46
8.  60 Minutes (CBS), 10.39
9.  NCIS-r (CBS), 10.19
9.  Survivor (CBS), 10.19
11.  Criminal Minds (CBS), 10.06
12.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 9.99
13.  NCIS: New Orleans-r (CBS), 9.96
14.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 9.55
15.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 9.37
16.  Mom (CBS), 9.01
17.  Modern Family (ABC), 8.85
18.  NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), 8.83
19.  The Good Wife (CBS), 8.74
20.  CSI: Cyber-Tuesday (CBS), 8.42

*not supported by advertising


(Week of April 20-26, 2015; live plus same-day)

Adults 18-49
ABC                   1.9/6
CBS                   1.3/4
NBC                   1.2/4
TNT                    1.2/4
Fox                     1.0/3
UNI                    1.0/3
TEL                   0.64/2
CW                    0.59/2
ESPN                0.54/2
TBS                   0.54/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
CBS                  8.41
ABC                  7.37
NBC                 5.51
Fox                   3.40
TNT                 2.84
UNI                 2.61
FNC                 1.70
CW                  1.60
Disney            1.57
TEL                 1.52


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