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‘Big Bang,’ ‘Scandal’ hit series highs Thursday

CBS rolls on night; Critics Choice Awards hit six-year high on CW

With “The Big Bang Theory” hitting a series high for a second straight week, CBS has dominated another Thursday in the ratings race. It was also another good night for ABC sophomore drama “Scandal,” which also hit a series high and won the night’s final hour among young adults.

According to preliminary national averages from Nielsen, “The Big Bang Theory” averaged a whopping 6.3 rating/19 share in adults 18-49 and 19.8 million viewers overall, towering above the night’s No. 2 program, which was the “Two and a Half Men” original which followed “Big Bang” on CBS at 8:30 (4.2/12 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall). “Big Bang” should have no problem beating out Fox’s “American Idol” when it debuts on the night next week, though it will be interesting to see what affect, if any, the music contest has on TV’s hottest show.

“Person of Interest” followed at 9 for CBS (3.3/9 in 18-49, 15.6 million viewers overall), edging out ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” for an 18-49 victory while winning rather easily in both adults 25-54 and total viewers, and “Elementary” wrapped things for the Eye with a solid second-place 18-49 finish (2.4/7 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall).

At ABC, “Last Resort” remains a laggard kicking off the night (1.2/3 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall), but the net spiked as usual with “Grey’s Anatomy” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall), though it remains on the low side — as it did at this time of last season. That’s not the case with Shonda Rhimes’ other ABC Thursday drama, “Scandal,” which carried over its late-2012 momentum into the new year with series highs (2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall); if it holds in the nationals, “Scandal” would have held a very impressive 90% of its 18-49 “Grey’s” lead-in.

NBC opened with “30 Rock” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall), which matched its season high three weeks from its series finale, and was followed by an encore of the special preview episode of new comedy “1600 Penn” from last month (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall). “The Office” rose up at 9 (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), logging its best score since Nov. 8, and the regular-slot debut of “1600 Penn” at 9:30 p.m. did a 1.6/4 in 18-49 and 3.9 million viewers overall. Closing out the night, newsmag “Rock Center” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall) was up from last week.

CW aired the “Critics Choice Movie Awards” and hit a seven-year high (best since 2006 on the CW) with a 0.6/2 in adults 18-49 and 1.9 million viewers overall. This year’s show likely benefited from the buzz surrounding the Oscar nominations announced earlier in the day.

Fox punted on the night with a special “Mobbed” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) and a repeat “Glee” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.0 million viewers overall). “American Idol” airs a two-hour episode in its premiere week next week, and “Glee” is scheduled to return on Jan. 24.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.5/10; ABC, 2.3/7; Univision, 1.6/5; NBC, 1.4/4; Fox, 0.9/2; CW, 0.6/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 14.7 million; ABC, 7.8 million; Univision, 4.1 million; NBC, 3.9 million; Fox, 2.7 million; CW, 1.9 million.

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