CBS stays strong week-over-week

A two-hour edition of “American Idol” that revealed the song competition’s 24 semifinalists easily boosted Fox to a primetime victory Thursday.

With second-place finishes in the 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. hours, CBS was the runner-up for the night.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Idol” (7.2 rating/20 share among adults 18-49, 21.6 million viewers overall), a slight dropoff from a one-hour edition that aired the previous Thursday.

CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (3.8/11, 12.5 million) was the top-ranked scripted program of the night, which CBS losing a chunk of that audience at 8:30 p.m. to “Rules of Engagement” (2.8/8, 9.6 million).

As far as the 18-49 demo was concerned, that essentially was the level the Eye remained at for “CSI” (2.7/7, 12.5 million) and “The Mentalist” (2.8/8, 14.7 million).

NBC’s comedy six-pack was topped at 9 p.m. by “The Office” (3.3/9, 6.2 million), which ran even with the first halfhour of ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” in the demo. “Grey’s” (3.3/9, 9.1 million) was ABC’s leader for the night, ahead of 8 p.m. entry “Wipeout” (2.2/6, 7.1 million) and 10 p.m.-er “Private Practice” (2.4/7, 6.7 million).

Behind “The Office” (which won its timeslot among men 18-34) for NBC came “Parks and Recreation” (2.4/6, 4.6 million), “30 Rock” (2.3/6,

4.5 million), “Community” (1.8/5, 3.9 million), “Outsourced” (1.5/4,

3.4 million) and “Perfect Couples” (1.4/4, 3.0 million).

The CW rounded things out with “The Vampire Diaries” (1.3/4, 3.9

million) and “Nikita” (0.8/2, 2.0 million).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox 7.2/20, CBS 3.0/8, ABC 2.6/7, NBC 2.1/6, Univision 1.6/5, CW 1.0/3.

In total viewers: Fox 21.6 million, CBS 12.7 million, ABC 7.6 million, NBC 4.3 million, Univision 4.0 million, CW 2.5 million.

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