As the season wears on, it’s become clear that the true star of ABC’s Shonda Rhimes lineup of Thursday dramas is the longest-running of them: “Grey’s Anatomy.” Last night, it stood as the No. 1 program on television in key demos and towered over both “Scandal,” which appears to have matched or set a series low, and “How to Get Away With Murder,” which was up a little with its season finale but still well down from last year’s closer.
According to preliminary national estimates, “Grey’s Anatomy” withstood the start of Daylight Saving Time to hold steady week to week in 18-49 (2.1 rating/8 share) while rising in total viewers to its largest overall audience since its winter premiere on Feb. 11. On a night when CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” was sidelined by college basketball, “Grey’s” finished as the No. 1 program in most key categories.
The momentum came to a halt at 9 p.m., though, as “Scandal” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) was down a tick from last week’s national average for a series low (it also had a 1.6 in the prelims last week, which was revised up to a 1.7 in the finals). Like “Grey’s,” it appears to have picked up some older viewers who typically watch the CBS comedies, as the Kerry Washington drama was up about 500,000 total viewers to join its lead-in in hitting a five-week high in this category.
Capping the night, “How to Get Away With Murder” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall) held steady in 18-49 and was up by about 750,000 total viewers for a five-week high in the category; in un-rounded, it grew week to week by 5% in 18-49 (1.44 from 1.37) and by 8% in adults 25-54 (1.87 from 1.73). But even if it adjusts up to a 1.5 in the finals, “Murder” would still finish down in 18-49 by a big 46% from its first-season finale a little over a year ago.
On the plus side, the already-renewed “Murder” again won its time period in key demos, and figures to widen that advantage in Live+3. Last week’s episode surged 91% in 18-49 rating (1.37 to 2.62) and by 66% in total viewers (4.80 million to 7.95 million) when going from same-day to three-day ratings.
CBS aired first-round college basketball action in the NCAA tournament known as “March Madness,” averaging a 1.3 in 18-49 and 6.6 million viewers overall on the network’s stations during primetime. The network had a couple of lopsided games as part of its slate, and the end result appears to be a decline of at least 25% vs. a year ago. TNT, TBS and TruTV also aired games last night, with each cutting into the individual rating of each other.At Fox, “American Idol” (1.7/6 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) showed no signs of snapping out of its decline a few weeks from its series finale. It was down another tenth and finished behind the ABC dramas in 18-49 while pulling ahead in total viewers and standing as the No. 1 program for the night by this measure.
NBC’s “Shades of Blue” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) held steady in 18-49 and was up in total viewers, despite a repeat lead-in from “The Blacklist” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall), and grew across the board in its second half-hour. Last week’s episode of “Shades of Blue” spiked in L+3 by 82% in 18-49 (1.01 to 1.84) and by about 66% in total viewers (4.86 million to 8.09 million). The night kicked off with “You, Me and the Apocalypse” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), which was up slightly vs. last week.
CW aired repeats of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) and “The 100” (0.2/1 in 18-49, 0.9 million viewers overall).