UPDATE 2:30 PM: Another day, another across-the-board upward adjustment for ABC’s lineup in the finals. Once again, Nielsen undercounted the network’s fast national ratings, leading to a one-tenth lift for all three ABC Thursday series. Grey’s Anatomy is going up to a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49, Scandal to a 3.4, and How To Get Away With Murder to a 3.3 in Live+Same Day. The fast nationals for all other series last night stand.
PREVIOUS 10 AM: It has become virtually impossible to successfully launch a new series on Thursday unless it is produced by Shonda Rhimes or has the biggest scripted show on television, The Big Bang Theory, as a lead-in. We had three more casualties last night: Fox drama Gracepoint and NBC comedy A To Z, which both posted the lowest fast national 18-49 ratings for a new series premiere so far this season, 1.2, as well as NBC comedy Bad Judge, which did only a tad better (1.3)
NBC needs to shake things up on Thursday with a big move like the planned midseason arrival of The Blacklist if it wants to reemerge as a factor on the night. Its fall lineup did nothing to move the needle, mired in the low 1s adults 18-49 rating zone the network was stuck in last season.
Bad Judge and A To Z launched with a lackluster lead-in from The Biggest Loser (1.3 in 18-49, even with the last two weeks, 4.7 million viewers). On the bright side, Bad Judge held onto 100% of its demo lead-in and built by 24% in total viewers to 5.9 million. And, in a factoid that is probably more indicatives of NBC’s Thursday ratings woes last season than its success last night, Bad Judge‘s 1.3 was actually NBC’s top 18-49 rating in the 9 PM slot with in-season regular programming since November 7, 2013. At 10 PM, heavily DVR-ed Parenthood (1.3, 4.4 million) was down a tenth in 18-49 from the final season premiere last Thursday and up 2% in viewers.
On Fox, following Bones (1.5, down a tenth from last week’s season premiere), the debut of event series Gracepoint (1.2) was down from the season premiere of Glee in the time slot in 18-49 (1.7) and on par in total viewers (4.8 vs. 4.6 million). With its nature as a serialized murder mystery, Gracepoint, a remake of the British drama Broadchurch, is tailor-made for binge viewing but that is of little consolation to Fox, which projects a modest 33% Live+7 lift for the premiere to a 1.6 demo rating. Because of the show’s serialized nature, with such low sampling of the opening episode, the broadcast run has very little growth potential.
For a second week in a row, Thursday’s non-sports landscape was dominated by ABC’s Shondaland lineup. Because of the unexplained Nielsen glitch that underreports ABC’s fast nationals, the network’s three dramas, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, likely again performed better than the fast national ratings give them credit for. (Last Thursday all three were adjusted up a tenth in the finals). With that in mind, Grey’s (2.6, 9.1 million) was down 10% in 18-49 from its fast national last Thursday, Scandal (3.3, 10.4 million) down 13% and HTGAWM (3.2, 11.8 million) down 16% and off only by 0.1 from its lead-in. Scandal and HTGAWM rank as two the top-rated dramas of the week in 18-49, with HTGAWM continuing to rank as the No. 1 new series in 18-49.
The CW kicked off its fall launch with the Season 6 premiere of The Vampire Diaries (0.9 in 18-49, 1.0 in 18-34, 1.8 million viewers). Facing Grey’s Anatomy, it was down from last fall’s premiere across the board, including -25% in 18-49, but up from the season finale, by 13% in 18-49, 25% in 18-34 and 11% in viewers. The second-season debut of Reign (0.4 in 18-49) was down 50% from its series debut to tie its season finale, which is a series low in Live+Same Day.
CBS is expected to win the night in 18-49 and total viewers with NFL football.