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

Apr 26, 2013  •  Post A Comment

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,” TVbytheNumbers.com 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.


  1. No it is because all of the shows were on a break for too long and those of us who do not base our lives on the TV schedule did not realize they were back on.

  2. Broadcast TV takes its viewers for granted! They just assume viewers will show up. They make no effort. The cable networks work overtime assuring that viewers are aware of their shows and that their shows are repeated so viewers who may have missed an episode can catch up. They work the press constantly reminding when the shows are on. Once a season starts, it is rarely interrupted. All of this helps viewers become loyal to the show. Hannibal’s Ceuf episode is a perfect example. NBC pulled it from the schedule as they thought it was too graphic a story with current news stories for the US. But if you live in Europe you can see it. Then to make matters worse and insult loyal viewers even more, they release it in 3 minute bits on HULU, but don’t include all of the bits. Similar situation with Smash. The show is bounced all over the schedule, insulting the loyal viewers. The Networks wonder why their ratings drop? The competition is working hard to acquire and keep viewers. The networks are doing everything they can to alienate viewers and push them away.

  3. Hi Chuck. Sheri Herman here. Does the fall of NBC really come as a surprise. WHO would hire Zucker to run news, seriously. We both know all the players. Totally predictable. Hope you are well.

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