UPDATE PM: Encouraging ratings uptick in the finals for new NBC drama Aquarius (1.1 in 18-49), which will rely on digital viewing as the network is making the whole season available for streaming.

PREVIOUS AM: The performance of new NBC drama Aquarius won’t be judged by on-air ratings as it is introducing a new broadcast model, with all 13 episodes made available online after last night’s two-hour premiere on the network.

The Charles Manson series starring David Duchovny got to a soft linear start, with a 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 5.7 million viewers from 9 to 11 PM. It retained most of its Dateline lead-in (1.2, 6.4 million) but declined steadily throughout the two hours, from 1.3 to 0.9 in the demo and 6.6 to 5.1 million in viewers. NBC notes that Aquarius outperformed the network’s previous Thursday summer drama premiere, 2012’s Saving Hope (0.7, 3.2 million), but that show was yanked off the schedule before the end of its run. Aquarius was in line with the debuts of other long-gone NBC summer dramas like Crossbones and Taxi Brooklyn, while trailing last summer’s The Night Shift (1.6, 7.8 million), which benefitted from following NBC’s flagship summer series, America’s Got Talent. As to be expected, Aquarius, dealing with real-life events from the 1960s, was older-skewing, performing better in total viewers where it was the third most watched program of the night behind a Big Bang Theory rerun and Dateline.

500questionsIn adults 18-49, Aquarius trailed all other originals last night (and some repeats). Fox’s Bones (1.2, up +20% from its most recent original) and Wayward Pines (1.2, even with last week), led the way, tied with NBC’s Dateline. ABC’s game show 500 Questions ended its limited run with a 1.1, up +10% from Wednesday’s telecast, and 5.0 million viewers for its 9-11 PM finale — ABC’s best summer numbers in the time period in 2 years. Both Wayward Pines and 500 Questions have been pretty consistent in the ratings, with the latter in consideration for an additional order by ABC.

As will the case on many Thursdays this summer, CBS claimed the top program of the night in 18-49 and total viewers with a Big Bang repeat (1.4, 7.5 million). Fox was the No.1 network in 18-49, CBS in total viewers.