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The NCAA Basketball Tournament Begins

Soon-to-Conclude 'American Idol' Leads Fox to Thursday Victory


Household Rating/Share
Fox: 5.8 rating/10 share, ABC: 5.1/ 9, CBS: 2.8/ 5, NBC: 2.5/ 4, CW: 0.7/ 1

Percent Change from the Year-Ago Evening:
Fox: – 5, ABC: – 7, CW: -36, CBS and NBC: -39 each

Ratings Breakdown:
The 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament (aka “March Madness) began on CBS and the networks of Turner – TBS, TNT and truTV. The two featured match-ups on CBS were UT-Chattanooga vs. Indiana and Stony Brook vs. Kentucky, and they scored an average – and estimated — 2.8 rating/5 share in the household overnights in primetime. Comparably, this was 39 percent below the two featured games on CBS on the year-ago evening. As a reminder, results for any live sporting event are always approximate.

In season-finale news, “How To Get Away With Murder” on ABC won the 10 p.m. hour with a 4.1/ 7 in the overnights. But that was 37 percent below the 6.5/11 for the year-ago season-finale (on 2/26/15). It was 20 percent below the 9:30 p.m. portion of lead-in “Scandal” (5.1/ 8). And it five percent below the 4.3/ 7 for “American Crime” on the year-ago evening. The moral of the story: Putting a scripted drama on a long hiatus is not a good idea.

Earlier in the evening on ABC was warhorse “Grey’s Anatomy” at a dominant 6.2/10 at 8 p.m., followed by aforementioned “Scandal” at a 5.1/ 8 at 9 p.m. Of the three ABC TGIT dramas, only “Grey’s Anatomy” was not negatively impacted by the hiatus.

Next Thursday, ABC drama “The Catch” from Shonda Rhomes debuts at 10 p.m.

Elsewhere, two more hours of Fox’s soon-to-conclude “American Idol” won the night overall with a 5.8/10 on households from 8-10 p.m. NBC populated this third March Thursday with failing “You, me and the Apocalypse” (#4: 1.8/ 3), a repeat of “The Blacklist” (#4: 2.0/ 3) and freshman “Shades of Blue” (#2: 3.7/ 7), which grew by 85 percent from “The Blacklist” encore. And The CW aired repeats of dramas “D.C.’s Legends of Tomorrow” (#5: 9.9/ 2) and “The 1oo” (#5: 0.5/ 1).

Source: Nielsen Media Research


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  1. Marc, you failed to mention that HTGAWM was up 10% from last week… It’s not all doom and gloom. Yes, it’s down from last year, but it is still winning it’s time period and is the 2nd strongest 10pm show in network television aside from the Voice-aided Blindspot… and it’s time-shifted numbers are very strong. Still – I think ABC will reconsider that long of a hiatus next season. I thought how they handled HTGAWM’s shorter episode cycle was better last year.

    • agree – the ratings now a days are so hard to factor in since so many people (myself, my friends) we pvr things and watch them later … and then i have friends who stream – so really how accurate are these numbers – clearly people are watching … i’m still on first season of HTGAWM on Netflix lol..

      • Great point. From what we’ve seen of the time-shifted crowd is that even with the popular shows among DVR/On Demand users (like HTGAWM), it only makes up for a little of the ratings losses.

        These same-day figures are in place to help determine ad rates so in a sense, the networks would rather you watch these shows on the night it airs or on-demand so you’d be forced to watch their ads.

  2. Day 1 NCAA Tourney (combined CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV) drew a 5.6 overnight rating, -15% from record-setting opening day in 2015.

    The fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day yesterday may have affected the numbers.