TV Ratings: 'Scandal' returns huge while 'Big Bang Theory' lifts CBS on Thursday
'Vampire Diaries' returns below last year, whole 'Sean' may not save NBC
"Scandal" kicked off its third season with series highs in all available demos on Thursday night, dominating "Elementary" and "Parenthood" for the 10 p.m. hour, but still not lifting ABC past CBS either overall or among young viewers for the night.
CBS was, once again, driven by "The Big Bang Theory," which dropped a little from last week, but still helped "The Millers" get a decent-but-not-spectacular sampling in its premiere. With a weaker lead-in, "The Crazy Ones" took a big drop in its second week, pushing "Two and a Half Men" down as well. It's notable that "Elementary" posted only a tiny decline from last week, despite a far skimpier lead-in.
The "Millers" premiere wasn't big, but it was much more impressive than the launches for NBC's "Sean Saves the World" and particularly "Welcome to the Family." "The Michael J. Fox Show" dropped as well.
Meanwhile, The CW started its fall roll-out with somewhat disappointing numbers for "The Vampire Diaries," which was up from May's finale, but nearly a million viewers shy of last season's premiere. That, in turn, meant that "The Originals," airing at a special time, got a smaller sampling than "Beauty and the Beast."
On to the numbers…
Among adults 18-49, CBS averaged a 2.9 rating for Thursday night, just ahead of the 2.8 rating for ABC in the key demographic. FOX was well back in third with a 1.8 rating, followed by NBC's 1.6 key demo rating. The CW averaged a 1.0 key demo rating for the night.
Overall, CBS had more breathing room with an estimated 11.73 million viewers and a 7.4 rating/12 share for Thursday primetime, well ahead of the 8.545 million viewers and 5.8/9 for ABC. FOX was third with 5.77 million viewers and a 3.5/6, topping the 2.9/5 and 4.545 million viewers for NBC. The CW averaged 2.35 million viewers and a 1.5/2 for Thursday.
[Note that NBC had the Bills-Browns game in Cleveland.]
8 p.m. - CBS started the night in first with "The Big Bang Theory" (17.75 million viewers and a 5.0 key demo rating) and the premiere for "The Millers" (13.15 million viewers and a 3.3 key demo rating). FOX was second with the 7 million viewers and 2.0 key demo rating for "The X Factor," up from last week in viewers and flat in the key demo. ABC's "Scandal" recap special averaged 5.74 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo rating in third. NBC was fourth with "Parks and Recreation" (3.46 million and a 1.3 key demo) and the series premiere of "Welcome to the Family" (3.32 million and a 1.2 key demo). The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" returned to 2.55 million viewers and a 1.2 key demo rating.
9 p.m. - CBS stayed first overall but dropped to second among adults 18-49 with "The Crazy Ones" (11.76 million and a 2.9 key demo rating) and sinking "Two and a Half Men" (9.255 million and a 2.4 key demo). ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" averaged 9.39 million viewers and an hour-winning 3.0 key demo rating. NBC took third with the "Sean Saves the World" premiere (4.895 million and a 1.6 key demo rating) and the second week of "The Michael J. Fox Show" (5.92 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo rating). FOX's "Glee" was down to 4.55 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo rating in fourth, declining both from last week and in its second half-hour. "The Originals" drew 2.15 million viewers and a 0.9 key demo rating in a one-off sampling after "The Vampire Diaries."
10 p.m. - "Scandal" erupted to 10.505 million viewers and a 3.6 rating among adults 18-49 for ABC in the 10 p.m. hour. [More analysis later, but "Scandal" drew 7 million viewers and did a 2.1 key demo rating for its premiere last season.] "Elementary" was second with 9.24 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo rating for CBS. NBC's "Parenthood" averaged 4.84 million viewers and actually rose to a 1.7 key demo rating, up a hair from last week.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.