Comedy ties its best rating on night; 'Rules' bow solid

Facing atypical competition this week, CBS comedy ”The Big Bang Theory” remained Thursday’s No. 1 program while matching its best demo rating since moving to the leadoff spot on the night more than a year ago. Fox’s ”World Series,” down slightly from Wednesday’s Game 1, figures to win the night in all key categories.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, ”The Big Bang Theory” averaged a strong 4.9 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 14.7 million viewers overall , up week to week and again ruling as the night’s No. 1 program. It was followed by the season premiere of ”Rules of Engagement” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall), which topped its premiere-week average of last fall on Monday by about 20% and was in line with the performance of a repeat ”Big Bang” in the 8:30 p.m. Thursday slot last week; both ”Rules” and ”Bang” benefited from repeat comedy competition on NBC, and another change this week was baseball in for ”The X Factor” on Fox.

Following the comedies, ”Person of Interest” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall) was in line with its recent averages, placing third in demos and leading all entertainment series in the 9 o’clock hour among total viewers. ”The Mentalist” closed out the night (2.5/7 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall), matching last week’s delivery and likely headed for a third-place 18-49 finish in the nationals behind baseball and MTV’s ”Jersey Shore” season finale.

Fox’s coverage of Game 2 of the World Series, which saw the Texas Rangers rally in the ninth inning for a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, averaged a 3.7 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 12.9 million viewers overall on the net’s stations from 8 to 11. Based on how Game 1 translated in the nationals, Thursday’s Game 2 (which also ended around 11:15 p.m. ET) should come in around 14 million viewers, enough to give Fox a victory for the night in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers. The Fall Classic, tied at one game apiece, is now guaranteed of extending through at least Monday’s Game 5.

At ABC, the canceled ”Charlie’s Angels” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) was down a tick week to week to match its season low, and from 9 to 11 p.m., ”Grey’s Anatomy” (3.5/9 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) and ”Private Practice” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) performed on par with week’s levels. ”Grey’s” will again be the night’s No. 1 drama in 18-49.

NBC generated low numbers (sixth place among the broadcasters in 18-49) with repeats of its comedies ”Community” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall), ”Parks and Recreation” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall), ”The Office” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) and ”Whitney” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) and drama ”Prime Suspect” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall).

At CW, ”The Vampire Diaries” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall) was in line with last week, and 9 p.m. rookie ”The Secret Circle” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) was up in most categories.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.7/10; CBS, 3.2/9; ABC, 2.4/6; Univision, 1.5/4; CW, 1.1/3; NBC, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 12.9 million; CBS, 12.2 million; ABC, 7.2 million; Univision, 3.3 million; NBC, 2.7 million; CW, 2.5 million.

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