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'Grey's Anatomy' tops Thursday ratings chart

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With CBS airing basketball semifinals last night, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy managed to score the best overnight rating by the narrowest of margins.

Grey’s dipped slightly this week, but had 8.8 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49, a performance that was narrowly followed by Fox’s American Idol and ABC’s Scandal.

Idol was down another tenth this week, though will probably rise to match Scandal in the afternoon numbers. Fox also tried a couple episodes of Raising Hope, including the show’s season finale, in the 9 p.m. hour. Both performed pretty modestly, though the 9:30 episode easily topped NBC’s 1600 Penn, which dropped 22 percent this week and aired its season (and almost certainly series) finale.

Pretty much everything was within a tenth of a point or so of last week, save the second episode of ABC’s Wife Swap, which dropped 18 percent.

Full Chart: READ FULL STORY

Jay Leno hits seven-week high in viewers

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As Jay Leno fights for his job, more people are opting to tune into the show that he’s expected to lose. The Tonight Show just hit a seven-week high in total viewers with 3.52 million (his best since the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 1) and a four-week high in the 18-49 demo with 982,000 viewers (his best since Feb. 18-22), according to Nielsen ratings. The ratings bump for the week of March 18-22 came as Leno began taking nightly jabs at his employers — like referring to them as snakes — as news hit that a succession plan was in the works to replace him with Jimmy Fallon.

As it now stands, Leno has outranked The Late Show with David Letterman among 18-49 viewers for the last 18 weeks in a row while topping Jimmy Kimmel Live for nine of their 11 head-to-head weeks. In total viewers, Leno has averaged more than the Late Show for 22 weeks in a row and Jimmy Kimmel Live for 11 of 11 weeks.

NBC has yet to confirm or comment on the succession plan, other than to say Fallon is getting a fancy new set in New York, where The Tonight Show is expected to move. Though plenty of industry watchers question whether it’s the right time to bump Leno, speculation continues that Fallon may start as early as February, after the network’s telecast of the Winter Olympics.

Leno continued his war of words against NBC on Wednesday, with this joke about the network’s Monday lineup. “The Voice and Revolution moved NBC into the No. 2 position. You know what that means? Between Easter and Passover, this is truly the season of miracles. We’re number two! We’re number two! And I’ve been saying that for the last week — NBC is a big No. 2. Haven’t I been saying that?” READ FULL STORY

'Kids Choice' builds in tot demo

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A strong showing from Josh Duhamel and the Kids Choice Awards helped Nickelodeon to post its highest rated telecast in four months since the iCarly finale. Saturday night’s live premiere averaged 5.8 million total viewers and 2.7 million kids ages 2-11, up slightly from last year’s show. Among kids 6-11, the awards show averaged 2.0 million and among 9-14, it lured 1.9 million.

Kids picked their favorites for the show in a record-breaking 392 million votes. READ FULL STORY

'The Voice': Shakira and Usher debut strong in ratings

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How did NBC’s The Voice perform for Monday night’s big return premiere with Usher and Shakira in the red chairs?

It depends on which comparison you use. Last night’s The Voice spring kickoff had 13.4 million viewers and a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49, easily winning the night.

Normally you would stack those numbers against the show’s Monday premiere on the same night last year. But that episode was a day after NBC aired the Super Bowl and had a giant 6.7 adult demo rating. So it’s down 30 percent from that. Another comparison (and in this case, NBC would argue, the more fair one) is the show’s season 3 premiere last fall, which had a 4.2 rating. So it’s up 12 percent from that round.

Overall, I say this is a good number for the show — especially since the series swapped out half its judging panel, with Xtina and Cee Lo expected to rerun in the fall. How often do you see a judges panel shakeup without a ratings drop from the show’s previous cycle? And given NBC’s recent severe ratings woes, some wondered if The Voice return would suffer. But clearly fans are fully capable of turning on NBC again when the broadcast network has a show they actually want to see.

And since some of you below are debating these Voice numbers vs. Fox’s American Idol this season, here’s some help: Last night’s Voice is down 22 percent from Idol‘s January premiere. But it’s higher than every Idol episode since January.

The return of Revolution, however, is bit less sunny. After a four-month break, the freshman adventure-drama returned to 7.2 million viewers and a 2.7 rating. That’s down 13 percent from the show’s prior average, yet was still easily enough to win 10 p.m.

Meanwhile Fox’s The Following continued its decline to a season low — down 8 percent this week. The Voice put the hurt on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, which dropped 28 percent this week. On CBS, The Voice seemed to pressure the network’s 8 p.m. hour, with How I Met Your Mother dipping 10 percent to a season low.

Full Chart:

READ FULL STORY

'American Idol' drops again: How low will the ratings go?

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When American Idol season 12 premiered lower in the ratings than last year, that was to be expected — returning weaker has been the show’s trend for several years.

When Idol numbers dipped after the show moved from auditions to the Hollywood rounds, that was also to be expected too — the reality veteran’s ratings tend to sag during the middle portion of its run every year.

But Idol is dropping nearly every week and last night was down 50 percent from its Thursday night premiere this season … and that’s scary.

Thursday’s Idol fell another 7 percent down to 11.7 million viewers and a 2.8 rating among adults 18-49. Again: a 2.8 rating. For the first time ever, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy topped Idol in these early numbers. Hell, Scandal nearly tied Idol!

Here’s Idol‘s Wednesday night track in the demo since its debut this season: 6.0, 5.5, 5.5, 4.6, 4.3, 4.1, 3.9, 3.8, 3.8, 3.6. While Thursday’s trend has been: 5.6, 5.2, 4.5, 4.1, 3.7, 3.9, 3.8, 3.6, 3.1 and then last night’s preliminary 2.8, down 33 percent from last year’s airing this week. The only time the show’s ratings have gone up this season was the week after Valentine’s Day (which is a traditionally soft night for TV viewing).

Elsewhere on the grid: ABC’s regular-folks version of Wife Swap was up from its last season premiere. Grey’s was up 12 percent. A special 1600 Penn at 8:30 was softer than Parks and Recreation in the slot. CW’s Vampire Diaries perked up a tenth for last night’s punk rock episode.

Full Chart: READ FULL STORY

'Splash' premiere gets high scores

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The premiere of celebrity diving show Splash gave ABC a ratings springboard on Tuesday night.

The network’s “Diving With the Stars” delivered 8.8 million viewers and a healthy 2.6 rating among adults 18-49. Splash came in second place at 8 p.m., beating the second week of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen and was topped only in the hour by CBS’ NCIS. The numbers were big enough to make Splash the top unscripted series debut on broadcast TV since Fox’s The X Factor first premiered in 2011. It also doubles the rating of Fox’s quickie version of the same concept (Stars in Danger: The High Dive) that was hustled out in January before Splash could hit the air.

After Fox’s diving show belly flopped in the ratings, we had modest expectations for ABC’s take, but Splash is arguably a better fit for the network that airs Dancing With the Stars. At the same time, these premiere ratings might not mean much — ABC has successfully delivered strong sampling for the premieres of short-lived cooking competition The Taste and the return of  Celebrity Wife Swap earlier this season, only to see both shows drop sharply. At least Splash ratings climbed from its first half hour to its second, which is a positive sign.

Here’s what else is interesting in last night’s numbers: Justin Timberlake’s CW special rated about the same as a modestly rated CW show. CBS’ Golden Boy went up 13 percent from last week (but that’s almost certainly because lead-in NCIS: LA aired an original episode instead of a repeat). ABC’s Dancing special was up slightly from last year’s similar special. Hell’s Kitchen dropped a tenth from its premiere. NBC’s Go On and New Normal both had their lowest-rated episodes to date.

Full Chart: READ FULL STORY

Howard Stern: 'I'm taking over The Tonight Show'

Man, you give the guy a seat on the America’s Got Talent judging panel and suddenly, he thinks he should take over everything.

On his radio show this morning on Sirius XM, Stern casually mentioned how he’s going to “take over The Tonight Show” when addressing the public drubbing that Matt Lauer has received over Ann Curry’s departure last summer. Stern also refers to how Bob Greenblatt — NBC’s Entertainment Chairman — told him how he’s “got to take over the show.” (To hear the exchange, click here). READ FULL STORY

'Dancing With the Stars' lowest-rated spring premiere ever

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You had to know this was coming: With the rather weak Dancing With the Stars lineup for the new edition, it’s no surprise Monday’s premiere got off to the slowest start ever for a spring cycle of the show.

Dancing had 16.8 million viewers and a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating. That’s down 11 percent from last year’s show. This season has Dorothy Hamill, Ingo Rademacher, Jacoby Jones, Sean Lowe, Andy Dick and others competing for the top prize.

Still, it wasn’t all bad news for ABC. The network points out the telecast was up 15 from last fall’s Dancing epic-low run, which faced increased competition. Among total viewers, the premiere was the second most-watched unscripted series telecast this season, behind only Fox’s American Idol premiere. Plus, 10 p.m.’s Castle had its most-watched episode yet.

Elsewhere: Fox’s The Following continued to drop, getting a little worried now — down 11 percent. NBC’s Biggest Loser hasn’t had a great season, but last night’s finale was up 18 percent from last year. CBS showed some weakness, with 2 Broke Girls hitting a series low and Mike & Molly hitting a season low.

Full Chart: READ FULL STORY

'Downton Abbey' breaks ratings records

Downton Abbey just broke another record.

The third season of the series ranked as PBS’ highest-rated drama ever, with an average of 11.5 million viewers tuning in over the course of seven episodes. For those keeping count, that’s up more than 60 percent from season 2.

To top it off, the third season finale, which aired on Feb. 17, attracted about 12.3 million viewers, beating all broadcast and cable competition airings in the time-slot, and, we presume, breaking just as many hearts along the way.

Read More:
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‘Downton Abbey’: Dan Stevens’ fate confirmed

Kimmel ratings down from 'Nightline'

Jimmy Kimmel’s much-anticipated move to the 11:30 p.m. timeslot on ABC has generated great buzz  — along with a tidal wave of good press and favorable reviews — but the impact of such a change has yet to produce dramatic results for the fourth place network. To wit: Kimmel’s performance during the February sweeps month was actually lower than what Nightline did from 11:30-midnight in February of 2012.

According to live plus same day ratings from Nielsen, Kimmel was down 12% in adults 18-49 (1.007 million versus 1.143 million) and 25% in viewers (2.883 million versus 3.828 million) compared to what the news magazine averaged last year. ABC has long argued that by moving Kimmel to the earlier timeslot, it can make more money off of commercials because advertisers prefer entertainment programs over news. In the suits’ terms, the costs per mille (that’s thousand in Latin) among adults 18-49 can sell for a premium if they are within “quality” entertainment, which is why Kimmel — according to one high-ranking ABC suit — sells out far better than Nightline ever did. READ FULL STORY

'Idol' does OK opposite repeats

Opposite mostly repeats and a slightly weakened Survivor, Fox notched a nightly win in the adult demo and viewers Wednesday with its two-hour telecast of American Idol. Though the competition show is fighting its own erosion — it’s down 3% versus last week, though Fox blames it on a 9% decline in TV usage – the show earned a 3.6 rating/11 share in the demo and attracted 13.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.

CBS was second for the night in the demo (2.0/6) and viewers (8.2 million), with Survivor: Caramoan earning a 2.5/8, down 4% from last week, and 9.5 million viewers. It was followed by repeats of Criminal Minds and CSI.

ABC was third for the night in the demo with a 1.2/4 (oof), with a repeat of The Middle and an original of The Neighbors (1.4/4) hitting a series low. Repeats of Modern Family, Suburgatory and Nashville came later. Dang, these post-February sweeps days blow.
NBC earned a 1.1/3 for the night (double oof), with an original of Whitney at 8 (1.2/4, down 8% from last week) followed by repeats of another Whitney, and Law & Order and Chicago Fire.

CW aired repeats of Arrow and Supernatural.

'The Following' tops Monday ratings after renewal

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A sleepy Monday in the ratings, with plenty of post-sweeps repeats across the grid.

Fox’s The Following continues to demonstrate impressive stability, staying dead-even with last week in the adult demo. The serial killer cult drama had 8.7 million viewers and a 2.8 rating. With CBS mostly airing repeats of its comedy lineup, The Following also was Monday night’s top-rated broadcast show. The performance comes on the heels of Fox renewing the drama for another 15 episodes (along with renewing New Girl, Mindy Project and Raising Hope).

The rest of the field also had non-surprising performances. Fox’s Bones was down a tenth. CBS’ Rules of Engagement — as the network’s only show with a new episode — was down 19 percent to a season low. ABC’s The Bachelor was down 7 percent for its Women Tell All episode. NBC’s The Biggest Loser was down 5 percent and Deception tied its low. The CW’s Carrie Diaries was up a tick.

Full Chart: READ FULL STORY

'Celebrity Apprentice' premiere ratings low: Are All-Star editions a bad idea?

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Donald Trump could get called into NBC’s boardroom if his numbers don’t improve.

The business tycoon’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice returned Sunday night to its lowest-rated premiere ever for a celebrity edition of the reality franchise. Only 5.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the show, which had a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49. That’s down 38 percent from last year’s premiere. Contestants include Trace Adkins, Bret Michaels, La Toya Jackson and Omarosa.

ABC’s Dancing With the Stars also hit lows with an All-Star edition this season. It’s impossible to know in either case if new casts would have performed worse, but it seems pretty obvious that the All-Star versions did not boost ratings in either case. As fans pointed out regarding last fall’s Dancing, the whole point of the show is to see celebrities sink or swim in a challenging environment; when you cast returning players, you lose that mystery.

The only legit bragging point NBC can muster on this number is that Apprentice beat ABC’s Red Widow premiere.

The crime family drama soap, which scored less than a 50 out of 100 among TV reviewers on Metacritic, launched to 6.8 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49. That’s 36 percent lower than the debut of ABC’s short-lived GCB in this slot last year. This ties Zero Hour (which was cancelled last week) as ABC’s lowest-rated scripted premiere ever, though the network points out that among total viewers Red Widow improved its time slot. READ FULL STORY

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