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‘Hannibal’ Dips, ‘Big Bang’ Repeat Tops ‘Idol’ on Thursday

CBS comedy also does well in test run at 9; NBC's 'Community' hits 10-week demo high

One week before the start of the May sweep, a repeat of CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory” beat out Fox’s “American Idol” head to head in both demos and total viewers for the first time. NBC rookie drama “Hannibal,” meanwhile, dropped off some in its third outing.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “The Big Bang Theory” repeat at 8 p.m. averaged a 3.0 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 11.2 million viewers overall, beating Fox’s “American Idol” head to head in adults 18-49 for a second straight week (3.0 to 2.6) and pulling ahead of the music contest in total viewers with an encore for the first time (11.19 million to 11.03 million).

Following a repeat of “Two and a Half Men” at 8:30 p.m., CBS tested a second “Big Bang” repeat at 9 p.m. and dominated the timeslot (3.2/9 in 18-49, 10.8 million viewers overall) and then dropped off at 9:30 p.m. (2.2/6 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall). The experimentation is a good way for CBS to measure the relative strength of the comedies opposite different competition, and perhaps could inform a decision to shift “Big Bang” to the later 9 o’clock slot in the fall if the net feels it has enough good comedies to expand the block to four shows.

A four-comedy setup on Thursday would also mean a timeslot shift for “Person of Interest,” which moved to 10 p.m. (1.7/5 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) and won its hour with about the same averages it did last week at 9.

At Fox, “American Idol” averaged a 2.9/9 in 18-49 and 11.9 million viewers overall, beating “Two and a Half Men”  in both 18-49 (3.2 to 2.3) and total viewers (12.8 million to 8.7 million) at 8:30; it should come up a bit in the nationals but may still be down week to week by a smidge in the demo while growing in total viewers. It was followed by “Glee” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall), which was down a bit from its school-shooting episode of last week, placing second to the special CBS comedy repeats for the 9 o’clock hour.

NBC’s “Hannibal” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) was down some in its third week but has still performed better than other entertainment series the net has aired in the 10 o’clock hour of late; last week’s preliminary score of 1.4 rose to a 1.5 in the nationals. “Hannibal” also continues to do very well in DVR playback, jumping nearly 1 full demo ratings point within the first three days after its telecast.

Also for NBC, “Community” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) edged up for a second straight week. And following a repeat of “The Office” at 8:30 p.m. (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.3 million viewers overall), “Parks and Recreation” delivered its two highest demo scores since February 7 with back-to-back original episodes at 9 (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall) and 9:30 (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall). The “Parks” average at 9:30 gave “Hannibal” a stronger lead-in than it had last week courtesy of the finale of “Go On” (1.1 in 18-49).

At ABC, “Wife Swap” was up a tick (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) and was followed by encores of “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) and “Scandal” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 3.4 million viewers overall).

CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” was on the low side as it went back into originals (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall), followed by an average “Beauty and the Beast” (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall). This was better than usual retention for “Beauty,” whose status for a second season remains up in the air.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 2.5/7; CBS, 2.3/7; Univision, 1.5/5; NBC, 1.4/4; ABC, 1.2/3; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 9.2 million; Fox, 9.1 million; ABC, 4.0 million; Univision, 3.8 million; NBC, 3.2 million; CW, 1.9 million.

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