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Weekly Ratings: Oscars, ‘TGIT’ Dramas Lift ABC to Biggest Victory in 15 Years

Tune-in for the Academy Awards may have been down — hitting a six-year low in total viewers — but that didn’t spell doom for the Alphabet. In fact, thanks to increased strength across its schedule, ABC dominated Oscar week by an even bigger margin than usual.

With the network winning on Monday, Thursday and Friday as well as Oscar Sunday, it was able to draw twice as many young adults as runners-up CBS and Fox during the course of the week. That made it the largest in-season margin of victory in 18-49 for ABC (100%) since January 2000, one of the network’s final turns airing the Super Bowl.

For the February sweep, ABC won all four Thursdays in 18-49 for the first time in eight years; took all four Fridays for the first time in 20 years; and won three of four Mondays, winning the night on average for the first time in six years.

“The Bachelor” and “Castle” picked up steam on Monday, while “Shark Tank” and “20/20” scored big on Friday. “Shark” last week matched its season high in 18-49 (2.2/7) while drawing its second largest overall audience to date (8.43 million), and the newsmag hit season highs (1.6/5, 7.08 million).

But most impressively, in their final night of the season as a trio, “TGIT” dramas “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” all gained a couple of ticks week to week and kept the net on top — edging out CBS, which had its best non-sports Thursday showing of the season thanks to the finale of “Two and a Half Men” and the premiere of “The Odd Couple.”

Scandal” was the week’s No. 3-rated drama in 18-49, while “Murder” was again easily the top-rated 10 p.m. drama across the week in the demo.

ABC also had reason to be encouraged last week by the Tuesday performance of new comedy “Fresh Off the Boat” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.17 million viewers overall), which grew 12% from its timeslot premiere of the previous week. And behind it, alternative series “Repeat After Me” had a pretty good start (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.36 million viewers overall).

As for the Oscars, Nielsen had a bit of good news for the kudocast on Tuesday as its numbers were revised up slightly in the nationals (11.0/29 in 18-49, 37.26 million viewers overall). That still left it down about 15% in both categories from last year, but it enabled it to widen its advantages over the Grammy Awards as the season’s No. 1-rated non-football telecast — outperforming the music awards show by 33% in the demo (11.0 vs. 8.3) and by 50% in total viewers (37.26 million vs. 24.82 million).

The 15% decline in 18-49 for the Oscars is just the latest for awards shows during the 2014-15 television season. The Grammy Awards on CBS and the American Music Awards on ABC both fell by 16% from the previous year, while the Golden Globes on NBC slid by 11% and the Country Music Association Awards on ABC dipped by 4%.

Elsewhere last week, Fox’s “Empire” (5.2/15 in 18-49, 13.02 million viewers overall) hit another high in its seventh airing, rising 8% and 9% week to week, respectively; it’s now up 37% in 18-49 and 32% in total viewers from its premiere.

Empire” was the week’s No. 1 broadcast series in 18-49, overtaking CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (4.5/15 in 18-49, 17.49 million viewers overall) and finishing behind only AMC’s “The Walking Dead” among all series (6.9/18, 13.44 million). The zombie drama bounced back from the previous week and outperformed its comparable episode of last year by 4%.

“Big Bang” was still big enough to provide strong lead-in support for the net’s new version of “The Odd Couple” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 13.57 million viewers overall), which led its 8:30 p.m. timeslot and out-performed the timeslot high this season for “Mom” (2.8) by 10%. Among this season’s new shows, last week’s “Odd” stands as the No. 1-rated premiere in adults 25-54 (4.6 rating), a bit ahead of the net’s “Scorpion” (4.5, also with a “Big Bang” lead-in) and ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder” (4.4).

On the other side of “Odd Couple,” the Charlie Sheen-free, hourlong series finale of “Two and a Half Men” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 13.52 million viewers overall) delivered the show’s best numbers in nearly two years, winning the 9 o’clock hour in adults 25-54 (4.7/12) and total viewers.

Opposite “Odd Couple” and “Scandal,” NBC’s “The Blacklist” held steady (1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.71 million), tying with the “Celebrity Apprentice” finale and “Chicago PD” as the net’s top shows of the week. Both “Apprentice” and “Chicago PD” shot up 21% week to week, with the latter logging its top score since November.

At Univision, the 27th annual “Premio Lo Nuestro” Latin music awards awards (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.55 million viewers overall) made the network No. 3 for the night in 18-49, up a bit from last year. And with a median age of just 36.7, the kudocast was able to rank second for the night behind ABC in adults 18-34 (1.9/7).

In cable, Fox News Channel ranked No. 1 among all networks in primetime total viewers (1.82 million) for the month of February — the first time it’s achieved this since October 2012. Among cable news networks, it has now been the most-watched every month for 13 years.

Meanwhile on Monday of the current week, FNC’s “The O’Reilly Factor” drew the show’s largest audience (3.34 million) since November. The hour saw host Bill O’Reilly defending his reporting from Buenos Aires in 1982 by broadcasting excerpts of CBS News coverage of the protests he was covering.

On the entertainment side in cable last week, AMC’s “Better Call Saul” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.23 million viewers overall) was down a smidge from its Monday premiere of the previous week, tying with ABC’s “Castle” for the 10 p.m. hour’s lead in 18-49. (In Live+3 ratings, last week’s episode was up a bit in both the demo and total viewers vs. its week-earlier premiere.)

History’s “The Vikings” kicked off its third season Thursday (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.80 million viewers overall), beating NBC’s “Allegiance” in 18-49. In “live-plus 3,” it rose to a 2.3 million adults 18-49 (1.8 rating in the demo) and about 4.6 million total viewers.

ABC Family’s “The Fosters” hit “live plus same-day” season highs on Monday in women 18-34 (334,000/1.0 national rating), adults 18-49 (672,000/0.5 rating) and viewers 12-34 (712,000/0.8 rating) and delivered its No. 2-rated telecast of the season in total viewers (1.28 million). It was cable’s No. 1 scripted telecast for the 8 o’clock hour in all young-female categories.

Investigation Discovery’s new surveillance video series “See No Evil” set network records in multiple categories with its Tuesday premiere, which averaged 1.81 million total viewers, including 1.09 million adults 25-54, in “live-plus 3.”


(Live plus same-day for Feb. 16-22, 2015)

Adults 18-49
ABC                                     3.0/9
Fox                                      1.5/5
CBS                                     1.5/4
Univision                               1.2/4
NBC                                     1.2/4
AMC                                     0.8/3
CW                                       0.7/2
TBS                                      0.7/2
ESPN                                   0.6/2
USA                                     0.5/2
Telemundo                            0.5/2

Total Viewers (in millions)
ABC                                    10.64
CBS                                      8.77
NBC                                      4.84
Fox                                       4.55
Univision                               3.14
USA                                      2.00
CW                                       1.79
AMC                                     1.79
Fox News                             1.78
Discovery                              1.77


(Live plus same-day for Feb. 16-22, 2015)

Adults 18-49 (rating/share)
1.   87th Annual Academy Awards (ABC), 11.0/29
2.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 6.9/18
3.  Oscar’s Red Carpet-8 p.m. (ABC), 6.4/17
4.  Empire (Fox), 5.2/15
5.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 4.5/15
6.  Oscar’s Red Carpet-7:30 p.m. (ABC), 4.1/12
7.  Scandal (ABC), 3.3/10
8.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 3.2/9
9.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 3.1/10
9.  Modern Family (ABC), 3.1/9
11.  How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), 2.9/9
12.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 2.8/9
13.  Oscar’s Red Carpet-7 p.m. (ABC), 2.7/8
14.  NCIS (CBS), 2.6/8
14.  The Bachelor (ABC), 2.6/7
16.  Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), 2.5/8
17.  Shark Tank (ABC), 2.2/7
17.  The Middle (ABC), 2.2/7
17.  The Goldbergs (ABC), 2.2/7
17.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 2.2/6
17.  2 Broke Girls (CBS), 2.2/6
17.  Black-ish (ABC), 2.2/6

Total Viewers (in millions)
1.   87th Annual Academy Awards (ABC), 37.26
2.  Oscar’s Red Carpet-8 p.m. (ABC), 23.82
3.  NCIS (CBS), 18.06
4.  The Big Bang Theory (CBS), 17.49
5.  Oscar’s Red Carpet-7:30 p.m. (ABC), 16.93
6.  NCIS: New Orleans (CBS), 14.70
7.  The Odd Couple (CBS), 13.57
8.  Two and a Half Men (CBS), 13.51
9.  The Walking Dead (AMC), 13.44
10.  Empire (Fox), 13.02
11.  Oscar’s Red Carpet-7 p.m. (ABC), 12.94
12.  Blue Bloods (CBS), 11.60
13.  American Idol-Wednesday (Fox), 10.70
14.  Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), 10.65
15.  The Mentalist (CBS), 10.10
16.  Scandal (ABC), 9.62
17.  Mike & Molly (CBS), 9.31
18.  Person of Interest (CBS), 9.17
19.  American Idol-Thursday (Fox), 8.98
20.  The Bachelor (ABC), 8.97


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