The first night of the May sweep had the NFL draft on ESPN and NFL Network and an almost full schedule of originals on the broadcast networks. Like previous years when pitted against the draft, which got a 4.6/8 on ESPN in metered markets, that led to a lot of lows for shows across the networks. Having said that, Thursday was particularly rough for American Idol (2.7/9), which hit an all-time low for any regularly scheduled Idol in the Fox series’ 12 seasons. In a much-teased surprise, no one went home on the one-hour results show but there were a lot fewer people watching: Idol was down 7% in adults 18-49 and viewership from last week’s fast nationals, and down 10% from April 18’s final numbers. The previous all-time low was a 2.8 rating March 28. Also on Fox last night, Glee (1.8/5) took a downward turn as well, falling 14% from its April 18 episode.
Back with a primetime full of originals for the first time in three weeks, CBS saw some of its biggest shows hit new lows. The Big Bang Theory (4.2/14) was down 19% from its last new show April 4, though it was the night’s most-watched show with 14.38 million viewers. Two And A Half Men (2.8/8) took a far steeper dive, off 28% from its last original three weeks ago to hit a series low. Person Of Interest (2.4/7) fell 11% from its April 4 episode to tie a series low, while freshman Elementary (2.0/6) dipped 5% to also hit a season low. Still, CBS won the night in total viewers and the demo.
After a build-up of weeks and weeks, the CW aired its The Originals spinoff episode of The Vampire Diaries (0.9/3) last night. The potential new series focuses on the Original family of vampires and their life in the supernatural melting pot of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Might want to emphasis the word “potential”, though, because Thursday’s backdoor pilot episode was down a tenth from last week to hit a Diaries series low. Lead-out Beauty And The Beast (0.5/1) was also down a tenth from its April 18 episode.
Also returning after three weeks, ABC’s Scandal (2.8/8) was the only show of the night to rise. The steamy political drama bopped up 8% over the 2.6/8 of its last original April 4. If that number stays the same in the final numbers and Grey’s Anatomy (2.7/7) numbers stay the same too, this week could see Scandal beat its lead-in for the first time and tie a series high. The same could not be said of the reality series Wife Swap (1.1/3), which cratered 27% from last week to hit a season low. At 9 PM, Grey’s Anatomy also was down but by a far-less 7% from its last new show three weeks ago.
NBC’s Community (1.0/3) found itself down 23% from last week to tie a series low. An encore The Office (0.9/3) was followed by a new Office (1.7/5) that fell 11% from its last original April 11 to hit a series low. Parks And Recreation (1.3/4) also hit a series low, falling 24% from last week. Freshman Hannibal (1.0/3) continued its decline, falling 29% from last week to hit a season low four weeks in.
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.