On a Thursday that included the return of CBS heavyweight “The Big Bang Theory” and rising numbers one of the final installments of Fox’s “American Idol,” much of the night’s ratings focus was on 10 o’clock hour, where three first year-dramas went head-to-head and delivered similarly modest demo scores. Opposite the finale of NBC’s rock-solid and already-renewed “Shades of Blue,” CBS introduced action comedy “Rush Hour” to soft numbers while ABC’s “The Catch” dropped slightly from its lackluster debut, helped out this week by a stronger “Scandal” lead-in.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, NBC’s “Shades of Blue” ended its 13-episode run with a 1.1 rating/4 share in adults 18-49 and 5.4 million viewers overall, up a tenth from recent weeks for its top score since Feb. 18. The show has impressed by holding steady despite the start of Daylight Saving Time and a repeat lead-in in recent weeks; last night, the Jennifer Lopez-fronted cop drama more than doubled the demo rating of a repeat “The Blacklist” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall).
“Shades of Blue” tied in 18-49 with the series premiere of CBS’ “Rush Hour” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall), with the Peacock drama prevailing at 10:30 p.m. with its final half-hour of the season (1.1 vs. a 1.0 for both “Rush Hour” and “The Catch”). This isn’t a horrible start for “Rush Hour,” which is an off-brand attempt by CBS, but the series inspired by the series of Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker films will have to stay about where it is to be considered an improvement over the recent numbers of “Elementary.” “Rush Hour” won the three-drama broadcast battle at 10 p.m. in adults 18-34 (0.7) and all male demos. It saw a typical decline on the half-hour for a 10 p.m. premiere out of a higher-rated lead-in (1.6 for “2 Broke Girls”), going from a 1.2 in 18-49 at 10 to a 1.0 at 10:30.
At ABC, “The Catch” (1.0/4 in 18-49, 5.0 million viewers overall) dropped by about 17% (0.2) from last week’s premiere. The new drama from Shondaland may have an opening to improve its numbers as NBC’s “Shades of Blue” gives way to new drama “Game of Silence” starting April 14. In “live plus-3,” last week’s premiere of “The Catch” grew by 55% in 18-49 rating (1.22 to 1.89) and by 45% in total viewers (5.85 million to 8.46 million) from its same-day averages.
The same-day retention for “The Catch” was a little lower last night (56% vs. 67% for its premiere), but ABC had to be pleased with the most promising results in weeks for 9 p.m. drama “Scandal” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall), which was up 0.2 from last week to log its top ratings since its midseason return on Feb. 11. It placed second for the hour in 18-49 to Fox’s “American Idol” (2.1). And leading off the night, “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.2/8 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall) was up a tenth to match its top rating since the show’s midseason return on Feb. 11.
Despite all its recent troubles, ABC’s TGIT lineup was flat year to year (with “American Crime” at 10 last season). The Alphabet is expected to again win the night among adults 18-49 in “live plus-3” estimates, though in same-night it lagged Fox’s two-hour “Idol” and was a tick behind the No. 2-rated CBS lineup.
At CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” (3.4/13 in 18-49, 14.0 million viewers overall) was back after two weeks off for college basketball, down a little from its pre-Daylight Saving Time numbers in late-winter but standing as easily the night’s No. 1 program. It was followed by the season’s final two episodes of “Life in Pieces,” which delivered a 1.9/7 in 18-49 and 8.1 million viewers overall in its regular 8:30 p.m. timeslot (down just a tick from its most recent original) and then a 1.7/6 in 18-49 and 6.8 million in its special 9 p.m. airing. The show is considered to be on the fence for a second season, though its steady performance in the second half of its run makes it the best-performing single-camera comedy entry to date for CBS, and perhaps gives the network something to build on going forward.
Closing out the comedy block last night, “2 Broke Girls” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) was in line with its prior original of three weeks ago, providing a solid lead-in for “Rush Hour.”
Fox’s “American Idol” (2.1/7 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) showed its first real momentum as it nears the end of its lengthy run, hitting a five-week high and winning its two-hour block (tied with CBS and a tick ahead of ABC). The show bows out next Thursday with a 126-minute grand finale featuring the return of numerous contestant alums, including Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks.
CW’s trend this week of bounce-back numbers for its dramas continued Thursday, as both “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (0.7/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) and “The 100” (0.5/2 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) were either steady or up in most categories from their prior originals of three weeks ago. Both shows were up a tenth in adults 18-34 and beat their NBC competition.
The Peacock’s “You, Me and the Apocalypse” ended its low-rated run last night (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), matching its top rating since Feb. 11.