It builds on 'X Factor,' though both are off from last year

Fox won Thursday’s primetime ratings race, though the bows of both “The X Factor” and “Glee” underwhelmed compared to last year and given the soft competition. Of course, it wasn’t like anything really popped on the night, with NBC’s finale of “America’s Got Talent,” CBS’ “Big Brother” and ABC’s “Wipeout” all looking sluggish.

An NFL game on the NFL Network between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears probably took away some viewers, but the channel isn’t as widely available as ESPN or other sports networks. It aired on the Fox affiliate in Milwaukee, so that net’s preliminary numbers are subject to revision.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, the Thursday premiere of “X Factor” averaged a 3.2 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 8.4 million viewers overall to win the 8 o’clock hour, but this was down from last year’s two-hour premiere on the night (4.3/12) — which aired opposite all originals on the competition. “X Factor” was also off a bit from this year’s season premiere on Wednesday (3.4/10 in 18-49, 8.73 million viewers overall), but up slightly in the 8 o’clock hour, in which went head to head with NBC’s “The Voice” on Wednesday.

“Glee,” building a bit on “X Factor” in demo rating, looked a little stronger considering where it was trending last spring and given that it has shifted to a new night; Thursday’s premiere posted the show’s top demo score since late January, when it was kicking off Tuesday night. But a dropoff in the second half-hour (3.4 demo rating at 9 and a 3.2 at 9:30), combined with the promise of much tougher competition in the coming weeks, could mean that this is the show’s peak for the season. “Glee” was Thursday’s No. 1 series in all key female demos as well as persons 12-34 (3.1/10).

Elsewhere, NBC’s two-hour finale of “America’s Got Talent” averaged a 2.4/7 in 18-49 and 10.5 million viewers overall, placing second in demos to Fox in both hours. The special-night finale was off a big 33% from last year when the show wrapped on its regular night of Wednesday. Despite the demo decline, it easily won its two-hour block in total viewers. NBC capped the night with an above-average delivery for “Rock Center with Brian Williams” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall).

CBS followed repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) and “Two and a Half Men” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall) with “Big Brother” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall), which was down 13% week to week, and a repeat of “Person of Interest” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall).

ABC had a slow night with a series low for “Wipeout” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) and repeats of “Grey’s Anatomy” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) and “Scandal” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.2/9; NBC, 2.0/6; CBS, 1.6/5; Univision, 1.5/4; ABC, 0.8/2; CW, 0.3/1.

In total viewers: NBC, 9.0 million; Fox, 8.2 million; CBS, 5.8 million; Univision, 3.6 million; ABC, 2.9 million; CW, 0.9 million.

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