TV Ratings Thursday: 'Grey's Anatomy', 'The Vampire Diaries' & 'Beauty and the Beast' Rise, 'Scandal' & 'Community' Flat, 'American Idol' Down Plus Preliminary NCAA Tournament Numbers

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March 22nd, 2013

Scandal Top of the Hour

Adults 18-49: Rating/Share 2.4/7 2.4/7 1.7/5 1.6/5 1.0/3 0.9/3
Adults 18-34: Rating/Share 1.9/6 1.9/6 1.5/5 1.5/5 0.8/3 0.9/3
Total Viewers (million) 8.772 7.560 3.919 4.702 3.100 2.163

Due to the nature of live  programming the ratings for CBS (NCAA Basketball tournament) are approximate and subject to more than the typical adjustments in the final numbers. See below for more information on these Fast Affiliate Ratings.

FOX and ABC tied for number 1 in adults 18-49 awhile FOX won with Total Viewers.


On FOX,  American Idol scored a 2.8 adults 18-49 rating, down 10 percent from last week’s 3.1 Glee earned a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating even with last week.

On ABC, the season premiere of Wife Swap garnered a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating, down 29 percent from a 2.4 for the season premiere of Celebrity Wife Swap on Tuesday February 26, but  up 42 percent from a 1.2 for its previous season premiere way back on Friday, April 2, 1010.  Grey's Anatomy earned a 2.9 adults 18-49 rating up 12 percent from last week’s series low 2.6. Scandal returned with a 2.7 adults 18-49 even with its most recent new episode on February 22. Your predictions were too pessimistic.

On CBS, the NCAA Tournament earned a preliminary 1.6 adults 18-49 rating, down 6 percent from a 1.7 preliminary rating for the first night of last year’s tournament but as noted are likely to be adjusted in the final ratings, and only cover the primetime portion of the telecasts. We'll have the final ratings for the CBS games, as well as most (if not all) of the NCAA games on cable in our broadcast and cable final ratings posts due between 4-5pm Eastern today.

On NBC, Community tied its series low with a 1.1 adults 18-49 rating, even with last week. A special 8:30 episode of 1600 Penn earned a 0.9 adults 18-49 rating down 44 percent from Parks and Recreation’s 1.6 in the time period last week. At 9:30 1600 Penn scored a series low 0.8 adults 18-49 down 20 percent from last week's  1.0 among adults 18-49.

On The CW, The Vampire Diaries earned a 1.2 adults 18-49 rating up 9 percent from last week’s 1.1.  Beauty and the Beast scored a 0.7 adults 18-49 rating up 40 percent from last week’s 0.5.

Overnight ratings for Thursday, March 21, 2013:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (Millions)
8:00 FOX American Idol 2.8/9 11.65
ABC Wife Swap - Season Premiere 1.7/5 5.00
CBS 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament (8-11PM) - Live 1.6/5 4.70
CW The Vampire Diaries 1.2/4 2.55
NBC Community 1.1/4 3.02
8:30 NBC 1600 Penn 0.9/3 2.54
9:00 ABC Grey's Anatomy 2.9/8 9.11
FOX Glee 2.0/6 5.89
NBC The Office - R 0.9/2 2.31
CW Beauty and the Beast 0.7/2 1.77
9:30 NBC 1600 Penn 0.8/2 2.29
10:00 ABC Scandal 2.7/8 8.57
NBC Law & Order: SVU - R 1.1/3 4.22

via press note:

In Late-Night Metered Markets Thursday night:



  • In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.8/7; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 1.2/4 with an encore delayed by basketball; and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 2.7/7.
  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 Wednesday results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.7/4; "Late Show," 0.3/2 with an encore delayed by basketball; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.1/5.
  • From 12:35-1:05 a.m. ET Wednesday night, ABC's "Nightline" averaged a 1.6/5 in metered-market households and a 0.7/4 in 18-49 in the Local People Meters.
  • From 12:35-1:35 a.m. ET, "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.3/5 in metered-market households) beat CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (0.7/3 with an encore delayed by basketball). In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.4/3 in 18-49) topped "Late Late Show" (0.2/2 with an encore delayed by basketball).
  • At 1:35 a.m., "Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.9/4 in metered-market households and a 0.3/2 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.


NOTE: All ratings are "live plus same day" from Nielsen Media Research unless otherwise indicated.

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2013 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.
You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live baseball game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

  • GARY

    Did the CW ask viewers to save B&TB à la ABC and Happy endings?

  • Lauren


    Where am I talking about TSC fans? I’m talking about RATINGS!

    But thank you! You just confirm what I was saying.

  • Mal

    Scandal even with 2.7. Nailed it!

  • BatbFan

    understand to Claudia
    @ Anthony Parello you say that this is a place of numbers, and I do not say anything when BATB ago that is indisputable bad numbers
    what bothers and do not understand is when they attack EVERYTHING about the show, no matter how you do
    and then the tedious comparisons with TSC
    there are fans who sometimes desubican but most fans do not see BATB offending other shows in each post on it …

  • Petar



  • Claudia

    @Anthony and @Lauren

    No its not Im hysterical about BATB I know it has its flaws, its a CW show for Gods Sake, (low budgeted shows) so does Arrow, so does TVD, so does Nikita….and I watch all these shows in the CW but I do think there is something especial about BATB that its worth saving it for another season, and what bothers me is that last week people (like Tom) where saying how BATB was gonna drop to .4 and it actually rose to .7 and still talks negative stuff thats what I mean, I can take the heat Im not blinded by my love for BATB, but I do think they have improved a lot from their first episodes hence the ratings :)

  • Ashton Butcher

    Grey’s and Scandal have become one of the better duos on TV right now both shows very strong in viewership and the demo. For Grey’s to still be performing this well after being on the air for 8 years now is amazing. I think ABC really needs to have Thursdays at 8pm as a reality hour they can rotate with Shark Tank and Wife Swap year-to-year, its not going to break the curse by any means but it will keep something stable there.

    Idol is continuing to decline at a rapid pace I thought by now the bleeding would’ve stopped especially with CBS not having their shows on last night.

    Speaking of CBS there was no BBT and this has been the excuse that many Community fans have used the last 3 seasons is that BBT affects their ratings well there was no BBT on last night so what’s the excuse now? I think NBC really needs to just kill most of these comedies not all of them because that’s impossible but at least Community and 1600 Penn from this night needs to vanish.

    The story of the night was on The CW as Growth is growth in my opinion and Beauty and the Beast illustrated their best rating since the premiere I believe. What was interesting about BatB last night was the fact that it did something that it hasn’t done all season and that’s grow during the second half-hour of the telecast. Could BatB had established a late season fanbase?

  • Holly


    Actually, last year at this time. TSC was getting the same ratings as BatB got last night. As I posted earlier, if BatB holds onto that 0.7, it will be renewed. If it doesn’t, it won’t. But neither outcome will make the CW fans any less… let’s be nice and say ‘overly zealous’

  • Ultima

    Ratings from ten years ago Thursday (20 March 2003)

    Ha! Remember when NBC used to rule Thursdays…

    Certainly not in 2003! Everyone kept switching to Survivor when Friends ended, so NBC kept stretching Friends out longer and longer…

    I actually think that was the season that “Friends-Thu 8:30″ was a top 20 show; it consisted of nothing except repeats, but aired often enough to count as a regular program. ;)

  • Brian J


    The constant back and forth over CW shows, even ones that have been cancelled, is endlessly amusing.


    It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the games if/when the other networks, particularly Fox, expand. No doubt CBS would like to keep them, but as you say, CBS Sports on cable isn’t up to snuff yet. NBC Sports is getting there, I think. (I’m not really a sports guy.) But again, Fox… Murdoch has deep pockets and would love, love, love to score a big asset like this, I’d guess, so perhaps a bidding war will break out in a few years.

    I have to wonder, though, why NBC doesn’t make more of a play for this stuff. If I understand its situation correctly, it’s further along in the process of being a true competitor to ESPN than CBS, and it’s not as if Comcast is a small company. Might it be worth it, even as a loss leader of sorts, for NBC to make a play?

    On another note, is it my imagination, or are most of the regular NBA games and similar things never shown on the broadcast networks any more? Has everything migrated to cable?

  • Anna Bones Clarkwood

    Posted March 22, 2013 at 11:04 AM
    I have a question, So For example 100M people watch Community, but only 1M watch the Ads. They put the 1M in the ratings?

    From what I understand:

    1. Nielsen’s ~25,000 users are who are suppose to, according to Nielsen, represent the ~300+ million Americans who have at least 1 tv in their household, whether they rarely turn it on or have it on all the time or anything in between.

    2. The ratings that we most often see & are passed around everywhere are Nielsen’s extrapolation of everyone (ages 2+) that watched that show, commercials or no commercials, as it airs or b4 3am on the “same day” it airs.

    Which means that according to Nielsen’s extrapolation of the Nielsen users of those who watched say Community, represent 3 million total viewers of which a 1.1 demo (~1.4million) watched the show in the most important demo.

    Now, if 97 million Americans (100-3) were watching online, bars, on campuses, waiting rooms, after 3am, etc, then yeah, that would suck, esp since a lot of those possibilities do include commercials, even the exact same ones. However, besides Live+SD, Nielsen only adds 3D & 7D to those totals.

    In the end though, Live+SD isn’t what actually matters. It is the best indicator of what does matter though. Which is, Commercial Viewing. Commercial Viewing comes in forms of LIVE, meaning the exact same timeslot, but also SD & 3D & 7D.

    What we normal see is Show Viewer/Demo Ratings. Which is similar, but not the same as, Commercial Viewer/Demo Ratings. Of which the latter is what is actually important but the former is what Rob & Bill are able to predict with a high 90% accuracy with in regards to Renew/Cancel.

    Which means, if 100 million viewers are watching Community, then, 96 million (my guess is that it gets a Live+7 gain of 1mil) of them have to be watching it outside of Nielsen’s measurement reach. Even if they are watching the Commercials. However, while Community may get more bar/college etc type commercial viewers then say Whitney/Go On, I doubt it’s anywhere near 96 million. And, unfortunately, b/c I think it does, the Network Execs aren’t paying for anyone to figure out if they do have a significantly more than normal bar/college commercial type viewership, those up to 96 million viewers don’t get counted. The 1.4 million who are 18-49 that watch Live+SD, most likely a little less, esp on New TBBT nights, when those same ppl watch Community via DVR & then skip the commercials b4 say tuning into POI/Grey’s/Glee Live.

    In a nutshell, both “100 million” & “1 million” are measured here. Though, there is no realistic way that Community gets 100 million “American 2+ Live +SD” viewers. And, Live+SD demo is not “view the ads”, it’s “view the show.

  • Petar

    idol will look really bad with the voice and tbbt returned. the voice really made idol/factor formats look bad. They are too similar almost the same and people are tired from them. Until the voice is more fun and good until live concert. THe voice blind audidtions will killd idol. Expect idol result show under 2.0 with tbbt return. As i said it day before the voice is killing idol/factor formats all over europe now.

  • Ultima

    @Brian J
    Still, how much of that goes to CBS, and how much does the network pay for it?

    CBS and Turner Sports paid ~$11 billion for 14 years (~$785 million a year). If they’re already pulling over $1 billion in advertising revenue during the second year of the contract, then it’s a safe bet they’ll turn a huge profit overall.

    Don’t know the numbers for CBS and Turner seperately, however.

  • Brian J

    @Ashton Butcher:

    I’ve suggested the same regarding Shark Tank on Thursdays for ABC, but if the network is determined to have scripted programming there, it should pick one pilot that fits better with GA and Scandal and leave it there no matter what the initial ratings are. Scandal was able to be boosted in large part because of social media, so perhaps a new show could be, too, buttressed by a guarantee by the network it would last an entire season. Some, including Bill Gorman, have expressed skepticism over this idea, but things are going so poorly for ABC in this slot that it might have nothing to lose.

    And yes, NBC really does need to change up Thursdays.


    Survivor really only beat Friends the first time they went head to head. The next season, which happend to be right after 9/11 when some speculate it became kind of like comfort food, it beat Survivor and kept on doing it. CBS might have won the night at some points, or might have had the number one show back when CSI was huge, but NBC at worst was always right at its heels. So perhaps we can say it co-owned the night.

  • Brian J


    The benefit to The X Factor in a lot of ways is that allowed Fox to have more stability in its schedule instead of constantly shifting things at midseason. Then again, it could have just not shifted things as much.

    The similarities between the two programs probably isn’t helping, either, though.


    I’d be curious to see the profit split between Turner and CBS.

  • Melissa


    Certainly not in 2003! Everyone kept switching to Survivor when Friends ended, so NBC kept stretching Friends out longer and longer…

    Yes, NBC did milk Friends as much as they could. By the way, where do you find the daily ratings from 10 years ago? I can find individual rating points from that time period, but I can only find full daily ratings up until the 2006-07 season.

  • Lauren


    -> LOL! Why do you think I posted accurate numbers?

    TSC has NEVER had a 0.5 before the three last episodes.

  • CookyMonzta

    Posted March 22, 2013 at 12:51 PM
    “idol will look really bad with the voice and tbbt returned. the voice really made idol/factor formats look bad. They are too similar almost the same and people are tired from them. Until the voice is more fun and good until live concert. THe voice blind audidtions will killd idol. Expect idol result show under 2.0 with tbbt return. As i said it day before the voice is killing idol/factor formats all over europe now.”

    I don’t think there’s enough time for Idol to dip under 2.0 this season. Next year, almost certainly. 2.4 is definitely a possibility for a season low this year.

  • Holly


    You have obviously mistaken me for a BatB fangirl, which is kind of hilarious and proves that you’re rather new to the site. That’s OK though. I really have no interest in arguing about TSC and BatB so you’ll have to forgive me for simply repeating what I’ve already said. Regardless of what TSC got last year or what TCD is getting now, if BatB can maintain around a 0.7, it will be renewed. If it drops to a 0.5, it will be cancelled. And nutty fans of all three will be equally obnoxious in their zeal for their show and bitter hatred of new shows in ‘their’ timeslot.

  • Michael1

    In 1984, ABC broadcast the Summer Olympics, but due to a scheduling conflict with Monday Night Football, they were able to farm the broadcast out to what is now my CW affiliate. The next night, the Olympics returned to my ABC affiliate. Why can’t CBS just do that to the NCAA tournament for their Thursday Night Prime Time Schedule? I’m sure the CW would jump at the chance, if NBC doesn’t beat them to it. It seems like a win-win.

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