Maybe it’s the new normal – at least for now. Five weeks into the season and still everyone’s standing – at least for now. Of course, last night being Thursday, the primetime trophy will be held by CBS and Thursday Night Football (4.8/15). With Peyton Manning now the NFL’s all-time touchdown pass leader as of October 19, it’s no wonder that last night’s impressive Denver Broncos victory over the San Diego Chargers was up from the week’s early numbers. In fact, on the last week before the network shifts back to non-football programming, CBS’ TNF experiment was really really up with its best result in six weeks and the second best since its September 11 debut.
Last night’s game, a 35-21 Broncos victory in Denver, surged 23% among adults 18-49 over last week’s fast nationals of 3.9/12. That October 16 game went up to a 5.4/17 in final numbers so expect a strong adjustment later today. As it stands, CBS took the night with a 4.5/14 rating and 14.64 million viewers.
On a night of otherwise ups and downs, the only other show on TV to see a similar demo jump as CBS’ NFL game was the CW’s Reign (0.5/1). Having gone up a tenth last week from the week before, the period drama leaped 25% this week to hit a Season 2 high. The same good fortune could ndot be said for Reign’s lead-in The Vampire Diaries (0.8/3), which stumbled 11% from last week to hit a season low in fast nationals.
NBC’s Bad Judge (1.0/3) didn’t have the best of nights either. In its fourth week, the struggling Kate Walsh comedy fell a hard 17% from its October 16 show to a fast nationals low. In fact, NBC saw a night of slips and stumbles with The Biggest Loser (1.2/4) and Parenthood (1.2/4) both dipping 8% from last week and newbie A To Z down 10%.
Fox’s only original of the night was Gracepoint (0.8/2). The remade Brit limited series has not had an easy time of it in Live+Same Day results. Last night’s result was even with its October 16 episode, so it can take solace in the fact it didn’t lose any ground.
Over on ABC, Shondanight was doing just fine again. ABC saw all three of the Shonda Rhimes-produced shows that make up its Thursday bop up from last week. Grey’s Anatomy (2.5/8) was up 4%, Scandal (3.0/9) was up 3%, and freshman How To Get Away With Murder (3.0/9) saw a 7% uptick. Scandal and HTGAWM were tied for the highest-rated non-sports shows on TV last night.
ABC’s Thursdays are up more than 20% over last year for its best season start in five years — and that’s with the NFL as new competition.
Up against TNF on CBS, Scandal actually showed some more forward movement in the demo over its comparable show a year ago at 10 PM. In fact, it was up 16% in total viewers year-to-year. With 10 million viewers, Olivia Pope and crew were the most watched non-NFL show on TV last night. Which is why ABC came in second both in terms of ratings and total viewers with a 2.8/9 and 9.49 million viewers.
BTW – third place in the key demo for the night went to Univision with a 1.2/4, just ahead of NBC’s 1.1/3.