Between the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards (5.4 million viewers, 1.7/5 rating in adults 18-49) on NBC and American Idol (1.5/5) on Fox, there was a lot of music on TV last night. There was also a lot of Jennifer Lopez and a ton of Ryan Seacrest as the Idol judge and host did double-duty with appearances on both shows. Of course, the fact that Seacrest’s company was also co-producing the live three-hour awards ceremony with Clear Channel – one of his other employers along with NBCUniversal – probably fueled Seacrest’s rush over to the Shrine Auditorium to hand Rihanna the Artist of the Year award with J-Lo. Still, for a show simulcast on 150 radio stations across the country and performances from new Voice coach Pharrell Williams and Acrade Fire among others, the iMAs was far behind the 9.9/25 rating and 28.50 million viewers this year’s Grammys drew in late January. The debut of the newest music awards show on NBC was also well behind the 2013 Billboard Awards, which pulled in a 3.5/10 rating among adults 18-49 with 9.48 million viewers overall on May 19 (a Sunday) last year. This year’s Billboard Music Awards is set to air live on ABC on May 18. No word when the next iMA is.
Coming after a Hell’s Kitchen (1.6/6) lead-in that slipped 6% from last week, Thursday’s half-hour live results Idol show fell 17% from its April 24 show as the contestants were culled to a final four. Side note: Head-to-head in the 9-9:30 PM slot, the iMAs beat Idol with a 1.5 rating in the key demo. According to preliminary ratings, Idol was actually last in its time slot among the Big 4. Fox finished the night with newbie Surviving Jack (1.0/3), which was even with its show last week.
In anticipation of actress Sandra Oh‘s departure form the medical drama this season, Grey’s Anatomy saw both a blast from the past and some of the past itself. The latter was the 8 PM (0.9/3) encore of Grey’s May 17, 2007 episode when Oh’s character Dr. Cristina Yang was to marry Dr. Preston Burke, played by Isaiah Washington. That failed nuptial was the set-up for the new episode at 9 PM (2.6/8), where Yang contemplated her future and Washington, who departed the show in Season 3, made a much-discussed return. The anticipation worked as Grey’s rose 13% in the key demo from it April 24 episode to hit its best result since its midseason return February 27. Unfortunately, even with that lead-in, the second week of Black Box (1.3/4) saw a drop of 13% from its April 24 debut.
Of course, the Force was strong somewhere else last night too with a The Big Bang Theory (4.4/16) tribute to Star Wars in advance of the mega-franchise’s annual May 4 “May The Fourth Be With You” celebration day. With an ultimately sad return appearance from Bob Newhart, the science geek series was steady with just a 2% dip from last week. By far the highest-rated show of the night by 69% over its closest competitor Grey’s, BBT was also the most watched show of the night with 15.68 million watching. Even with that good start to CBS’ night, The Millers (2.1/7) was down 13% and, against the heavily promoted Grey’s, Two And A Half Men (2.1/6) fell 16% from its April 2. Week 2 of Bad Teacher (1.5/4) had the comedy taking a real tumble with a death-spiral 29% drop from its April 24 premiere. The high-profile Grey’s probably contributed to that blow as well. CBS ended the night with Elementary (1.6/5) even with last week. CBS won the night among 18-49s with a 2.2/7 ratings and in total viewers with 9.429 million.
The CW’s Vampire Diaries (0.7/3) and Reign (0.5/2) were down 13% to tie a series low and even, respectively, with their April 24 shows.