UPDATE: CBS has won the first Thursday night of the season in key demos behind “The Big Bang Theory,” while its new Sherlock Holmes drama “Elementary” looked good in taking the 10 o’clock hour. Another rookie drama, “Last Resort,” opened to fairly good numbers in the tough leadoff hour for ABC, whose “Grey’s Anatomy” returned very strong.
Final same-night Nielsen national estimates show “Elementary” winning the 10 o’clock hour with a 3.1 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 13.41 million viewers overall, improving on last year’s season premiere of “The Mentalist” and building in demos on its lead-in from “Person of Interest” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 14.28m). The Jonny Lee Miller-Lucy Liu series also held up well in its second half-hour, dipping a bit in rating but maintaining its demo share — a good sign for a 10 p.m. premiere. Also for CBS, “The Big Bang Theory” (5.0/16 in 18-49, 15.66m) and “Two and a Half Men” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 12.54m) made for a strong opening hour. “Big Bang” was up a tick over its first of two back-to-back episodes on premiere Thursday a year ago and ruled as the night’s top show in 18-49, 25-54 (6.3/17) and total viewers; it also drew its largest-ever premiere audience.
For its part, “Two and a Half Men,” while well below its Monday premiere averages of recent years, retained 70% of the big “Bang” audience to lead its timeslot in all key categories (tying with Fox’s “X Factor” in 18-49). CBS was probably hoping for stronger retention for “Men,” but it’s certainly an improvement over the timeslot holds the net has seen with the likes of “Rob” and “How to Be a Gentleman.”
At ABC, Andre Braugher starrer “Last Resort” (2.2/7 in 18-49, 9.31m) opened OK, improving a bit on last year’s “Charlie’s Angels,” which only lasted seven episodes. Though not great numbers, it’s pretty good for ABC in this historically tough time period, and “Resort” gained some in its second half-hour.
“Grey’s Anatomy” (4.4/12 in 18-49, 11.73m) impressed in kicking off its ninth season, rising 7% vs. last year’s two-hour premiere and standing as Thursday’s No. 1 program in all female demos as well as adults 18-34 (3.8/12). It was followed by the second-season premiere of “Scandal” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.74m), which ran second at 10 o’clock and built some on its series premiere scores from last April but underperformed last year’s premiere of “Private Practice” in the timeslot (in the second week of the season).
Fox’s combo of “The X Factor” (3.2/10 in 18-49, 9.39m) and “Glee” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 5.79m) were down from last week when they aired opposite softer competition, with the music talent show off just 6% and the musical comedy sliding 17%. The net finished third for the night in 18-49, but just a tick behind second-place ABC.
NBC’s national reach was reduced some as the net’s affiliates in Cleveland and Baltimore preempted Thursday’s lineup for NFL action. But despite that and the arrival of original fare on ABC and CBS, all four comedy half-hours either matched or came within a tick of their week-ago preem scores: “SNL: Election Special” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.87m), “Up All Night” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.26m), “The Office” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 4.13m) and “Parks and Recreation” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 3.27m). At 10, newsmag “Rock Center” was affected more, dropping by three-tenths to a mere 0.8/2 in 18-49 and 3.13 million viewers overall.
The Browns-Ravens NFL matchup on NFL Network probably took some viewers away from entertainment series Thursday, with the game averaging a 3.4 rating in 18-49 and drawing 8.05 million viewers overall.
Next week will see the season premiere of NBC’s “30 Rock,” taking over for “SNL” in the leadoff slot. CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and new “Beauty and the Beast” follow a week later.