What Happened to Broadcast Ratings Last Night? ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox All See Shows Slump to Season Lows; Only One Series Bucks the Downtrend TVbytheNumbers

Season lows and series lows were the order of the night for broadcast prime time Thursday night, with all of the big four broadcast networks seeing their shows sink, based on Nielsen overnights.

Equaling or surpassing their all-time lows in the key 18-49 demo were CBS’s “Two and a Half Men,” “Person of Interest” and “Elementary,” Fox’s “American Idol” and NBC’s “Community,” reports, while CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory,” ABC’s “Wife Swap” and NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” equaled or surpassed season lows.

One reason: The report notes that broadcast programming had unusually strong competition from the NFL draft, with ESPN and NFL Network both carrying the event starting at 8 p.m. ET.

CBS won the night in the 18-49 demo and in total viewers. For prime time overall, CBS averaged a 2.6 rating in 18-49, followed by Fox (2.2 average), ABC (2.2), Univision (1.4) and NBC (1.1). In total viewers, CBS averaged 11.9 million to lead Fox (8.2 million), ABC (6.4 million), Univision (3.3 million) and NBC (2.5 million).

Even while reaching a season low and dropping a full ratings point from its previous original episode, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” was the top show of the night on broadcast, coming in with a 4.2 in adults 18-49. “Two and a Half Men” lost 1.1 ratings points, sinking to a 2.8; “Person of Interest” fell three-tenths to a 2.4; and “Elementary” dipped one-tenth to a 2.0.

Fox’s “American Idol” continued to see erosion and continued its recent string of lows, falling three-tenths from last week to a 2.7 in the 18-49 demo. “Glee” also fell three-tenths, notching a 1.8.

Bucking the downtrend was ABC’s “Scandal,” which returned to equal its series high with a 2.8 in viewers 18-49, up two-tenths from its previous original. ABC’s “Wife Swap” lost four-tenths from last week for a season-low 1.1, while “Grey’s Anatomy” dipped one-tenth from its previous original to a 2.7.

The carnage was also felt at NBC, where “Community” equaled its series low with a 1.0 in 18-49, down three-tenths from last week. “Parks and Recreation” and “Hannibal” both lost four-tenths, with “Parks” sinking to a season-low 1.3 while “Hannibal” slumped to a 1.0.