TV Ratings: ‘Big Bang Theory’ leads CBS Thursday as ‘American Crime’ dips ABC

Fast National ratings for Thursday, March 5, 2015.

The series premiere of ABC's heavily hyped “American Crime” couldn't keep up with the network's “How To Get Away With Murder,” but it was still solid enough to let ABC tie for the Thursday crown among young viewers. 

Or, put a different way, a strong “Big Bang Theory” performance helped CBS move up to grab a Thursday split among young viewers, while the network won comfortably overall. 

Since ABC's Thursday has been reliably winning in the key demo, it's all a matter of perspective. ABC's perspective is that “American Crime” had the best midseason drama debut outside of “Empire” since “Resurrection” last March.

Mostly, the Thursday offerings were stable, with struggling dramas “The Slap” and “Backstrom” both ticking up 0.1 in the key demo. Also going up was “The Odd Couple,” which rose in tandem with its “Big Bang Theory” lead-in.

On to the numbers…

Among adults 18-49, ABC and CBS both averaged a 2.5 rating for Thursday night. FOX was a distant third with a 1.6 key demo rating, followed by NBC's 1.1 key demo rating and the 0.2 key demo rating for CW repeats for the night.

Overall, though, CBS had first all to itself, averaging an estimated 10.9 million viewers and a 6.6 rating/11 share. ABC was well back in second with 8.69 million viewers and a 5.7/10, topping FOX's 6.63 million viewers and 4.0/6. NBC was fourth with 5.08 million viewers and a 3.2/5. The CW averaged 654,000 viewers and a 0.5/1.

8 p.m. – CBS started primetime strong with “The Big Bang Theory” (17.88 million and a 4.7 key demo) and “The Odd Couple” (12.47 million and a 3.0 key demo). FOX's “American Idol” was second with 9.34 million viewers and third with a 2.1 key demo rating, compared to the 8.08 million viewers and 2.4 key demo rating for ABC's “Grey's Anatomy.” NBC's “The Slap” averaged 3.87 million viewers and a 0.8 key demo rating in fourth, far ahead of the 704,000 viewers and 0.2 key demo rating for The CW's “Vampire Diaries” repeat.

9 p.m. – CBS stayed in first overall and slipped to second among adults 18-49 with a “Big Bang Theory” repeat (10.475 million and a 2.4 key demo) and a new “Mom” (9.545 million and a 2.2 key demo). ABC's “Scandal” was second overall with 9.57 million viewers and won the hour with a 3.0 key demo rating. NBC's “The Black List” averaged 8 million viewers and a 1.7 key demo rating. “Backstrom” was a distant fourth with 3.93 million viewers and a 1.0 key demo rating. The CW's “Supernatural” repeat averaged 604,000 viewers and a 0.2 key demo rating.

10 p.m. – ABC's “American Crime” premiere ruled the 10 p.m. hour with 8.42 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo rating. [There was a bit of a half-hour drop as “American Crime” went from 8.86 million and a 2.2 key demo rating for 10 p.m. to 7.975 million and a 1.9 key demo in the 10:30 half-hour.] CBS' “Elementary” was second with 7.52 million viewers and a 1.3 key demo rating, topping the 3.36 million viewers and 0.8 key demo rating for NBC's “Allegiance.” [Both “Elementary” and “Allegiance” were also down in the 10:30 half-hour, so it's not just an “American Crime” thing.]

All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.