CBS’ ‘Big Bang’ Tops Thursday While Fox’s ‘X Factor’ Hits Low With Do-Over

Special episode of 'The Voice' gives a boost to NBC's 'Sean Saves the World,' 'Michael J. Fox'

UPDATE: As expected, ratings for NBC’s programs came down in the national numbers released late Friday by Nielsen. “The Voice” fell to a 2.5/7 in 18-49 and 9.74 million viewers overall, followed by “Sean Saves the World” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.55m), “Michael J. Fox Show” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.45m) and “Parenthood” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.88m). Though “The Voice” helped boost “Sean” at 9 p.m., “Michael J. Fox” was down a tick from last week.

Elsewhere, shows rising by a tenth were ABC’s “Scandal” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.66m), CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (4.9/15 in 18-49, 16.89m) and “Elementary” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 8.89m) and CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 2.59m), which was also up slightly in the net’s target demo of adults 18-34 (1.8/5). CBS’ “The Millers” was revised downward by a tenth (2.6/7 in 18-49, 10.38m).

The cable football battle went narrowly to NFL Network’s game between Washington and Minnesota (2.4/7 in 18-49, 6.47m). ESPN had its best Thursday game of the season with Oregon-Stanford (2.2/7 in 18-49, 5.73m).

NBC’s special hour of “The Voice” easily toppled Fox’s fumbling “The X Factor” in Thursday’s showdown of live music contests, but it was CBS that finished on top as usual behind “The Big Bang Theory.”

It’s been a tough week for “X Factor,” as an on-screen gaffe forced producers to scrap the voting results from Wednesday night’s show, and the contestants had to sing again during Thursday night’s live episode. Even if that brought some much-needed extra attention to the show prior to its head-to-head battle with “The Voice,” it didn’t provide any ratings boost.

Meanwhile, as expected, the special “Voice” lead-in provided a boost for NBC’s first-year comedies airing behind it — “Sean Saves the World” and “The Michael J. Fox Show” — though the net’s preliminary estimates include a preemption for Redskins football in Washington, D.C., so ratings for the comedies and “Parenthood” are expected to be revised downward in the nationals.

And even with the World Series in the rear-view mirror, it was another big Thursday night of sports action across the cable dial, which likely resulted in even greater-than-usual DVR playback for the evening’s top entertainment series. In the metered-market overnights, the NFL Network’s game between Washington and Minnesota did a 5.4 household rating, followed by ESPN’s Oregon-Stanford college football game (4.1), TNT’s doubleheader of NBA action (2.0) and Oklahoma-Baylor in college football on FoxSports1 (1.5).

Looking at the preliminary, affiliate-based national estimates from Nielsen, “The Big Bang Theory” remained the night’s dominant series, though it fell to a season low (4.8 rating/15 share in adults 18-49, 16.6 million viewers overall); it typically picks up two-tenths or more in the nationals.

It was followed by “The Millers” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall), which was in line with two weeks ago when it followed a “Big Bang” original and up nearly 30% from its week-ago outing behind a “Big Bang” repeat (2.1).  “The Crazy Ones” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) was above last week’s low (1.9) but a bit below the 2.3 it did two weeks ago (with a fresh “Big Bang” kicking off the night). Closing things out, “Two and a Half Men” appears to have hit a season low (2.0/5 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall), and “Elementary” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall) was within a tick of its score of the last two weeks.

Overall, CBS won the night among the broadcasters in key demos — something it has done every week this season when “The Big Bang Theory” aired an original episode.

At NBC, the fifth hour this week of “The Voice” averaged a 2.7/8 in 18-49 and 10.2 million viewers overall, easily the net’s best showing in the time period this season even if this was a low-water ratings mark for the show to date; a year ago, a special Thursday hour in November did a 3.0 demo rating.

Keeping in mind that the numbers for the rest of the net’s shows on the night are inflated by football and expected to be revised downward in the nationals, “Sean Saves the World” spiked about 50% week to week to a 1.7/5 in 18-49 and 5.6 million viewers overall, and “Michael J. Fox” rose 18% (1.3/3 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall). Also getting a bump for NBC was 10 p.m. drama “Parenthood” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall, which hit a five-week high.

At Fox, a baseball-dictated hiatus certainly didn’t help this lackluster season of “The X Factor.” The show returned to its regular lineup for the first time in weeks, but hit a low both with Wednesday’s two-hour performance show (1.5 in 18-49) and then tumbled on Thursday to a series-low 1.2/4 in 18-49 while drawing 3.6 million viewers overall. At 9 p.m., “Glee” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) returned down sharply as expected from its most recent episode (the Corey Monteith tribute) but within a tick of the episode before that.

ABC’s “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” returned from a week off to its lowest numbers to date (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), and was followed by “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall), which was up a tick from last week’s season low and again was the top entertainment program in its hour among adults 18-49. Capping the night was “Scandal” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall), which had its lowest same-night score of the season but also was the non-sports leader in its hour in both 18-49 and 25-54.

CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) bounced back from its sub-par showing on Halloween a week ago, matching its season high in adults 18-34 (1.4/5) and beating out both Fox and ABC in the 8 o’clock hour. And at 9, “Reign” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall) held steady in 18-49 while rising in total viewers and matching its best score in adults 18-34 (0.6/2).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.5/7; ABC, 2.1/6; NBC, 1.9/5; Fox, 1.4/4; CW, 0.9/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 10.2 million; ABC, 6.9 million; NBC, 6.6 million; Fox, 3.8 million; CW, 2.1 million.

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