Ratings: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Hits Low as Viewing Levels Tumble on Cinco De Mayo

UPDATED WITH FINALS: On a night that saw television viewing levels take a dive due largely to Cinco De Mayo celebrations, CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” hit a season low but still emerged as the top program in most categories. It teamed with solid showings by “The Odd Couple,” “Mom” and “2 Broke Girls” to help the Eye edge out ABC for the night’s lead in young adults.

According to Nielsen, just 26% of adults 18-49 were watching television during primetime on Thursday, down a sharp 10.3% from last week (29%) when the opening round of the NFL Draft kept viewing levels pretty healthy. As is typically the case during Daylight Saving Time, viewing in the 8 o’clock half-hour was especially soft, with just 23.3% of 18-49ers watching television.

The decline among adults 18-34 was an even greater 13% week to week (20.4 vs. 23.4). As a result, expect to see larger-than-usual lifts in delayed viewing for many Thursday programs.

Looking at the national estimates from Nielsen for Thursday, “The Big Bang Theory” averaged a 3.0 rating/13 share in adults 18-49 and 13.22 million viewers overall — down 0.4 from last week. Its prior season low had come on April 7 with a 3.1 in the demo and 13.5 million viewers.

The rest of the CBS lineup held up a little better week to week, with “The Odd Couple” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 8.07 million viewers overall) down a tick and “Mom” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 7.92 million viewers overall) down two tenths. “2 Broke Girls” (1.6/6 in 18-49, 6.66 million viewers overall) managed to stay even, while “Rush Hour” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 4.56 million viewers overall) was down a tenth to its low.

ABC opened with the steady “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.0/8 in 18-49, 7.66 million viewers overall), which placed second to “The Big Bang Theory” head-to-head in broad categories, but moved ahead in adults 18-34 (1.6 to 1.5). Last week’s episode of “Grey’s” set a series-record for a L+3 percentage lift in 18-49, rising 70% (2.0 to 3.4), and its pure lift (+1.38) was its second biggest of the season.

Behind “Grey’s,” both “Scandal” (1.5/6 in 18-49, 6.05 million viewers overall) and “The Catch” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.36 million viewers overall) edged down a tenth.

NBC’s “Strong” (0.6/3 in 18-49, 2.55 million viewers overall) lost another tenth, but “The Blacklist” held steady (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.65 million viewers overall) and “Game of Silence” was up a tenth (0.7/3 in 18-49, 3.26 million viewers overall).

Fox’s “Bones” (0.9/4 in 18-49, 4.29 million viewers overall) defied the odds by rising a tick from last week, but “American Grit” was down a notch behind it (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.77 million viewers overall).

And at CW, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.63 million viewers overall) was down a tenth, while “The 100” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.13 million viewers overall) held steady.

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