‘Big Bang’ extends lead over ‘Idol’

Fox wins Thursday with improved 'Finder'

CBS sitcom staple “The Big Bang Theory” defeated Fox’s reality powerhouse “American Idol” for the second week in a row Thursday night, but this time by a wider margin.

With “The Big Bang Theory” earning a 5.4 rating/15 share in the 18-49 demo, that was more than enough to handily defeat “Idol” (4.8/14) in the 8 o’clock half-hour timeslot. Numbers are based on early estimates from Nielsen and may change slightly later this afternoon.

However, with CBS televising repeats of its procedurals in the 9 and 10 p.m. hours, Fox was able to take the night. Over the full hour, “Idol” drew a 5.4/15 and 16.9 million viewers.

“Big Bang,” which drew 15.9 million viewers, was actually slightly higher than a week ago. Last Thursday was the first time “Idol” was defeated in head-to-head competition by a series (not a special).

Fox saw a jump in “Bones” spinoff “The Finder” at 9 p.m. With the help of an “Idol” lead-in, “The Finder” (2.9/7, 8.5m) rose 32% from last week and handily defeated all competitors in the hourlong timeslot.

Following “The Big Bang Theory” at CBS, the new Rob Schneider starrer “Rob” (3.5/9, 11.5m) was even compared to a week ago in the demo and up slightly in total viewers. Eye closed out the night with reruns of “Person of Interest” (2.1/5, 10.4m) and “The Mentalist” (1.9/5, 9.5m).

NBC aired a pair of “30 Rock” episodes at 8 and 9 p.m., sandwiched by “Parks and Recreation” (1.7/4, 3.4m). The later “30 Rock” (1.9/5, 3.9) was an improvement on the earlier telecast that kicked off the night (1.6/4, 3.8m).

At 9:30, Peacock ran a rerun of “Up All Night” (1.4/3, 3m) that led into an hourlong installment of “The Firm” (1.0/3, 3.7m). The TV adaptation of the John Grisham novel has been a major disappointment for NBC, which doesn’t look to have much of a future in that timeslot in the near future.

ABC opted not to go with any original programming Thursday. Alphabet skedded repeats of “Wipeout” (1.5/4, 4.8m), “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.3/3, 3.9m) and “Private Practice” (0.9/2, 2.7m).

The CW ran a repeat of two-hour movie “The Covenant,” which scored a 0.5/1 and 1.3 million viewers.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 4.1/11; CBS, 2.8/7; Univision, 1.6/4; NBC, 1.4/4; ABC, 1.2/3; CW, 0.5/1.

In total viewers: Fox, 12.7 million; CBS, 11.2 million; ABC, 3.8 million; Univision, 3.7 million; NBC 3.6 million; CW, 1.3 million.