Is there a hotter show on broadcast TV than Scandal right now? Last night the soapy drama nabbed a 3.3 live rating in adults 18-49, up 6% from last week and its second best demo number ever behind this month’s premiere. Scandal is expected to finish the week as the top rated broadcast drama in 18-49 (Live+same day) — topping seasoned veterans like CBS’ NCIS and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (2.6 last night, down 7% from last week) and hot newcomers like NBC’s The Blacklist, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and ABC’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. — and the second highest rated in all of TV behind AMC’s The Walking Dead. But ABC’s success at 10 PM with Scandal was offset by the shaky performance at 8 PM of new drama Once Upon A Time In Wonderland. The Once spinoff dived 29% from its soft premiere last week to a 1.2.
Wonderland was topped in the 8 PM hour by the CW’s The Vampire Diaries (1.3), which also finished ahead of the NBC comedies in the hour. TVD posted big week-to-week gains for its best numbers of the season, +30% in 18-49 and +33% in total viewers (2.8 million). But, like with ABC, it was a good news/bad news situation for the CW last night, with another newcomer performing sub par. The heavily marketed premiere of new costume drama Reign (0.8 in 18-49), was down 20% from the debut of The Originals in the time slot two weeks ago and down 33% from the debut of Beauty In The Beast last fall to log the CW’s lowest rated Thursday premiere ever. With Supernatural, Arrow and TVD sizzling and The Originals and Tomorrow People doing well while straight female soaps like Carrie Diaries and Reign struggle, the future direction of the network seems pretty clear.
There were ratings upticks for two pairs of new comedies, which helps seal Back 9 orders for the first two and doesn’t mean much for the other two. CBS’ newcomers The Millers (3.2) and Crazy Ones (2.5), which both already looked good for back orders, got closer to their goal with a tenth of a ratings bump each. That is with 8 PM anchor The Big Bang Theory (4.9, 17.2 million and the No.1 program of the night) even with its fast national from last week. Two And A Half Men (2.1) was down 9% for a series low, and heavily DVR-ed Elementary (1.6) was down 16% also to a series low. CBS handily won the night in 18-49 (2.6) and total viewers (10.7 million)
Another top DVR gainer, NBC’s Parenthood (1.3) was actually up week to week, by a tenth, and tied Parks & Recreation (also up a tenth) as the highest rated program on the network last night. Two of the network’s new comedies, Welcome To The Family (0.9) and Sean Saves The World (1.1) also went up by a tenth, while The Michael J. Fox Show (1.2) was flat. The upticks likely won’t be enough for NBC, which finished No.7 in 18-49 last Thursday and didn’t fare much better last night (It is currently No.5 behind CBS, Fox, ABC and Univision, with cable ratings yet to come in), so changes may come soon. (Community, are you ready?)
Things are starting to look up for Fox. Glee rebounded after a very slow start with the Cory Monteith tribute. The network has a freshman hit with Sleepy Hollow vs. a flop with Mob Doctor last fall. And it has the higher rated ALCS league this fall vs. NLCS last year, giving ratings an additional boost. Last night’s game was up double digits (up 41% in the fast nationals) vs. the corresponding NLCS game last October. (Of course, the comparisons won’t look as good next fall when NLCS returns to Fox.)