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CBS Wins Thursday as ‘Big Bang’ Nearly Doubles ‘Idol’

ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy' is top drama in demos; 'Scandal' solid but down a bit from last week

The combo of “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men” grew week to week and ruled as Thursday’s top shows in key demos as CBS captured the night in all key categories. In the prelims, at least, Fox’s “American Idol” hit another low and stood as merely Thursday’s No. 5 show among young adults.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “The Big Bang Theory” averaged a dominant 4.6 rating/16 share in adults 18-49 and 15.7 million viewers overall — up 2% from last week’s final and easily Thursday’s top draw in these categories as well as adults 25-54 (6.3/19). Head-to-head in 18-49, “Big Bang” nearly doubled Fox’s “Idol” (4.6 to 2.4). It was followed by “Two and a Half Men” (3.1/10 in 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall), which was up by 10% and won out over “Idol” in 18-49 (3.1 to 2.7), 25-54 (4.5 to 3.7) and narrowly in total viewers (11.9 million to 11.8 million).

CBS dropped off from there, though, leading credence to speculation that it may expand its comedy presence on the night. “Person of Interest” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 12.8 million viewers overall) matched last week’s averages to again rank second for the hour in 18-49 while also falling behind ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” in 25-54 (3.6 to 3.5). And at 10, “Elementary” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 9.5 million viewers overall) also held steady from last week and placed second for its hour in key demos.

CBS swept the night’s half-hours in total viewers, beating runner-up Fox for the night by about 4 million.

Elsewhere, “American Idol” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 11.0 million viewers overall) was down about 10% from last week for the show’s lowest 18-49 score for a regularly scheduled episode; a telltale sign of the lack of excitement as it nears its finale is the modest build from its first half-hour to its second on Thursday (2.4 vs. “Big Bang” at 8 and a 2.7 at 8:30). It was followed by “Glee” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall), which was in line with last week and was slightly above NBC’s comedies in the 9 o’clock hour.

At ABC, the finale of “Wife Swap” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) was up a bit over last season’s conclusion but ranked fourth in 18-49 among the Big Four in the 8 o’clock hour. It was followed by “Grey’s Anatomy” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall), which grew 7% (0.2) from last week to match its best score since March 21; the only hour to rate higher than the ninth-year drama “Grey’s” in 18-49 on Thursday was the CBS comedy block from 8 to 9. Closing out the night, “Scandal” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) was down 7% (0.2) from last week but remained the hour’s leader in 18-49 and 25-54 (3.2/8) and will once again rule as TV’s top-rated 10 p.m. drama across the week in 18-49.

NBC was up week to week, as “Community” grew (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall), and an hourlong “The Office” improved the net’s standing from 8:30 to 9:30 (1.8/6 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall). That led into the “Parks and Recreation” finale (1.5/4 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall), which was up 15% (0.2) from last week, and 10 p.m. rookie drama “Hannibal” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall), which was flat.

It’s presumed that “Parks and Recreation” will return next season, but the status of the net’s other comedies — including “Community” and “Go On” — remains up in the air.

At CW, “The Vampire Diaries” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall) was in line with last week, while “Beauty and the Beast” (0.5/1 in 18-49, 1.3 million viewers overall) was steady in 18-49 and edged up in adults 18-34 (to 0.5/2) with its first episode since earning a second-season renewal.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.7/8; ABC and Fox, 2.2/7; NBC, Fox and Univision, 1.4/4; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.0 million; Fox, 8.1 million; ABC, 6.8 million; Univision, 3.6 million; NBC, 2.9 million; CW, 1.7 million.

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