As confirmed cases of the coronavirus pandemic broke 1 million worldwide for the first time, America took to the small screen in some record numbers last night.
Once again topping Thursday in the adults 18-49 demographic and up a tenth from last week, Grey's Anatomy 1.4 had its best audience this season with 7.13 million tuning into to the latest love triangle at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Up almost 10% in viewers over last week, Grey's previous audience season high was the 7.04 million of its March 19 airing
Unsurprisingly, with a down a tenth Station 19 1.1 and the upticking midseason return of How to Get Away with Murder 0/6, ABC won last night's primetime in the key demo with a 1.0 — like it did on March 26.
However, with an average of 7.14 million sets of eyeballs, viewership easily belonged to CBS, who were second among the 18-49s with a 0.9. Worth noting, as we do, that Univision was third nationwide in the key demo on Thursday with a 0.6, followed by NBC and Fox's 0.5 overall rating.
On the hand, there were a lot of season highs on CBS with nearly 10 million watching Young Sheldon 1.3, plus Mom 1.0 and Tommy 0.6. Back for a fourth season, Man with a Plan 0.9 was pretty standard in its demo performance, but, with 7.14 million tuning in, had its highest viewership result since way way back in its first season on February 13, 2017, when the Matt LeBlanc starrer hit an audience of 7.20 million.
In the middle of all that CBS action, the return of NCIS vet Pauley Perrette to the network with Broke 0.9 was a good payoff for all concerned. Even with the likes of Mixed-ish and CBS's own Bob Hearts Abishola for the best comedy demo debut of the season, the hard times series had the richest viewership for any sitcom this roller coaster season with 7.14 million.
Over on NBC, both Superstore 0.7 and Brooklyn Nine-Nine 0.5 were down two tenths from last week. Indebted 0.3 and Law & Order SVU 0.6 had a slight stumble of a tenth each in the demo too with a Will & Grace 0.3 repeat at 9 PM.
Fox's Last Man Standing 0.7 also took a dip from last week and was down a tenth from its March 26 show. The rest of Fox's night was all encores, as was the case for the entire night on the CW.
CBS is launching a month-long sequence of Sunday movie nights in May, featuring five contemporary classic movies to keep viewers entertained while they stay indoors. The network announced that the weekly programing event will kick off on May 3 and will feature two “Indiana Jones” films, “Forrest Gump,” the first “Mission: Impossible,” and “Titanic.” The titles all hail from Paramount Pictures' library, which is also part of the ViacomCBS family.
“It's a five-week programming event with epic films, iconic stars and brilliant stories that viewers love...and love to watch together,” Noriko Kelley, an executive vice president at CBS Entertainment, said in a statement.
As for newer projects, CBS made headlines yesterday when the company announced that it would air a special pandemic episode of “All Rise.” The Simone Missick-led legal drama's upcoming episode will be shot using various social media platforms and online technologies and the production will abide by social distancing guidelines.
ViacomCBS is one of numerous entertainment companies that have been broadly impacted by current events and are starting to experiment with different forms and schedules for their offerings. The company has halted production on shows ranging from “The Amazing Race” to “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and other companies and studios have followed suit for their own projects. CBS' May film programming will replace the original episodes of “Love Island” that were scheduled for May 24 and May 31; the status of the reality series is up in the air to the ongoing pandemic.
CBS previously ran a “CBS Sunday Movie” franchise that ended in the 2004-2005 television season.
IndieWire is keeping track of all film and television industry-related events and projects that have been impacted by the pandemic. IndieWire is also documenting all of the positive news to come out of the outbreak and also has a list of resources available to entertainment industry workers in need of aid.
The schedule for CBS' upcoming May Sunday movie night programming is as follows:
May 3: “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 10: “Forrest Gump” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 17: “Mission: Impossible” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 24: “Titanic” 7-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 31: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT