The 46th Annual Country Music Association Awards took a steep dive from last year's presentation for its lowest ratings ever on Thursday night, but it still performed strongly enough to give ABC an overall win for the evening, according to preliminary numbers.
The awards show, which filled ABC's primetime slate, averaged a 3.8 rating/10 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and drew 13.6 million total viewers.
Those numbers represent a 21 percent drop in the demo and a 17 percent decline in total viewers. While the CMA Awards came in second place in ratings and total viewers to "The Big Bang Theory," the show gave ABC first place in both the demo and total viewers overall for the night.
CBS took second place in the demo and in total viewers with a 3.2/9 and 12.7 million. "The Big Bang Theory" at 8 p.m. inched up to a 5.1/15, the night's best performance in the demo, and took 15.7 million total viewers, making it the most watched program of the night. "Two and a Half Men" at 8:30 posted a 3.6/10 and grabbed 12.6 million total viewers, while "Person of Interest" at 9 took a 3.0/8 and 13.5 million total viewers. "Elementary" at 10 climbed 9 percent for a 2.4/6 and had 10.5 million total viewers.
Fox, which ran "The X Factor" throughout the night, took third in ratings and total viewers with a 2.3/6 and 6.2 million — which was even with last week in the demo and up 9 percent in total viewers.
NBC came in fourth in ratings and total viewers. Following a repeat of "The Voice," "Rock Center With Brian Williams" posted its highest rating this season, growing 18 percent to a 1.3/3, and took 4.8 million total viewers.