CBS tops subdued Thursday

Time-shifted viewing will boost DVR numbers

Ratings dropped nearly across the board Thursday, a night that CBS took in key demos even though its “Bleep My Dad Says” saw a sizable decline. ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” narrowly emerged the top show among young adults despite little help from its anemic “My Generation” lead-in.

It’s not surprising to see ratings drop after premiere week, as the excitement of new and returning shows helped to pump up same-night viewing levels. But now more than ever, with DVRs in more than 38% of households nationwide, auds will be watching their favorite shows on their own timetables — so some big same-week DVR playback ratings can be expected for the likes of “The Big Bang Theory,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Office.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, CBS opened the night very well with “The Big Bang Theory” (4.3/14 in 18-49, 13.0 million viewers overall), which was down 12% from its big premiere and matched the combined 18-49 delivery of the two closest nets in the time period (Fox and NBC). New half-hour “Bleep My Dad Says” kept CBS on top in the 8:30 p.m. timeslot (3.2/10 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall), falling a larger 20% week to week. And from 9 to 11 p.m. “CSI” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 13.3 million viewers overall) and “The Mentalist” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 14.6 million viewers overall) dropped by 12%, with the former placing third in 18-49 and the latter winning at 10 p.m. (though MTV’s “Jersey Shore” could prevail in 18-49 when cable nationals are released later today) and standing as the night’s most-watched program overall.

At ABC, “My Generation” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) tumbled 31% from its already weak premiere score (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) and doesn’t figure to return next week. The net then quadrupled its lead-in at 9 p.m. with “Grey’s Anatomy” (4.4/12 in 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall), which remained the night’s No. 1 show in 18-49 despite a 19% falloff from its premiere. And at 10, “Private Practice” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) finished second among the broadcasters across the board.

NBC opened with “Community” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), down 14% from its premiere and placing third in the 8 o’clock half-hour, and then picked up steam at 8:30 p.m. with “30 Rock” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), which matched its premiere-week performance and tied for second in 18-49 and won the 8:30 slot in 18-34 (3.0/10). At 9, “The Office” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) placed second in 18-49 and was down 16% from its premiere, while new comedy “Outsourced” (2.8/7 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall) declined by 22% and ran third in 18-49 at 9:30. “The Apprentice” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall) matched its week-ago score, but is still a question mark to continue much longer in this high-profile timeslot.

For the night, NBC matched its year-ago 18-49 average while ABC, CBS and Fox all declined by double-digit percentages. The NBC 8-10 p.m. comedy block was up year-to-year (2.75 to 2.65 in 18-49), and “The Apprentice” was down a tick from last year’s “The Jay Leno Show.”

Fox was down the least week to week among the Big Four with its dramas “Bones” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall) and “Fringe” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.4 million viewers overall). And CW was off a tick vs. last week with “The Vampire Diaries” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) and “Nikita” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.3/10; ABC, 2.8/8; NBC, 2.3/7; Fox, 2.2/6; Univision, 1.7/5; CW, 1.3/4.

In total viewers: CBS, 13.2 million; ABC, 8.1 million; Fox, 7.5 million; NBC, 5.1 million; Univision, 4.1 million; CW, 3.0 million.

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