After surviving one of the most dramatic dismissals of a series star ever, CBS’ Two And A Half Men summoned some of the ratings magic of its glory days for its Charlie Sheen-themed (but Sheen-less) hourlong series finale last night. It drew a 3.1 rating in adults 18-49, up a whopping +48% from last week, and 13.2 million total viewers, the long-running comedy’s best numbers since May and April 2013, respectively.
Underscoring the draw of star power in launching comedy series, Matthew Perry’s largely panned Odd Couple reboot opened to a solid 3.1 in 18-49 and 13.6 million viewers. That was in line with the fall 2013 debut in the same time slot of The Millers, which posted a 3.3 in the demo with a stronger Big Bang Theory lead-in (5.0 vs. 4.4 last night, down a tenth from the hit comedy’s most recent original) and with the 3.2 the Scorpion premiere delivered, also behind a higher-rated Big Bang, on Monday in September. Riding the coattails of Big Bang (17.2 million viewers overall), The Odd Couple ranked as the most watched new comedy series debut this season and the second highest rated in 18-49 behind ABC’s Black-ish. It also was a bit higher than the 2.8 in 18-49 sophomore comedy Mom had been averaging in the slot with an original Big Bangs this season. CBS’ strong ratings performance from 8-10 PM did not carry over to the 10 PM hour where drama Elementary (1.5) only ticked up a tenth from last week.
The finale/premiere hoopla on CBS could not spoil ABC’s first February Thursday sweep among adults 18-49 in 8 years. ABC (2.8) edged CBS (2.7) to retain the Thursday demo crown for a fourth consecutive Thursday with another rock solid performance by its Shondaland dramas, all of which posted week-to-week gains. Grey’s Anatomy (2.5) was up +9%, Scandal (3.2), was up +3% and How To Get Away With Murder (2.8) was up +4%.
It was a rocky night for recent Thursday night additions, with all midseason dramas posting big ratings swings. In Week 2, NBC’s miniseries The Slap (0.9) dropped -27%. After climbing +30% in the fast nationals last Thursday, Fox’s Backstrom (0.9) went downhill again, sown -25%. On the bright side, NBC drama Allegiance (0.9) bounced back from the dismal 0.7 Week 2 rating, up +29%. Of course, the percentage changes are so big because all three series are low rated, so a couple of tenths make for a double-digit swings when the base is so small. Allegiance‘s gains may be cut in half in the finals as its fast national last night included a minute of Blacklist overrun.
While rookies The Slap and Allegiance were jumping up and down, NBC’s new Thursday 9 PM anchor The Blacklist (1.7, 7.5 million) held steady with last week’s series low Last+same day demo rating. There is some good news for NBC. The drama has been performing better in DVR viewing than the network had projected — jumping by a series record +85% in 18-49 from L+SD to L+3 and reaching the 3.2 18-49 rating NBC had forecast for L+7 in the first three days of delayed viewing. While the show’s Monday L+7 demo average, 4.6, still appears out of reach, The Blacklist will be able to close more of the gap as it continues to take a hit on its new night with no support from the rest of the NBC lineup.
Elsewhere last night, Fox’s American Idol (2.1) was down -9% from its fast national last week, the CW’s The Vampire Diaries (0.7) and Reign (0.4) were steady.