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TV Ratings: 'Private Practice' Improves With 'Grey's Anatomy' Crossover, Fox Tops Thursday With 'Idol'

UPDATED: It was a night of declines on broadcast, with only a handful of programs rising or remaining steady in the ratings.

Private Practice You Break My Heart Still - H 2012
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
"Private Practice"

It was a night of declines for the majority of broadcast programs, with overall usage flat week-over-week. Even so, it was Fox that won the night with American Idol in the key categories.

A two-hour telecast of Idol (16.5 million total viewers, 5.0 rating in adults 18-49 demographic) plunged 14 percent from last week, when the reality competition series only aired in the 8 p.m. hour, but the program was among the top-rated of the night -- tied with CBS comedy juggernaut The Big Bang Theory (15.5 million, 5.0). The half-hour sitcom actually beat Idol in the 8 p.m. half hour in total viewers (15.5 million vs. 15 million) and the demo (5.0 vs. 4.6).

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The crossover episode of Grey's Anatomy (8.1 million, 3.1) and Private Practice (7.1 million, 2.6) wasn't kind to one of the veteran medical dramas. Grey's Anatomy plunged 23 percent compared to last week, the biggest drop of the night experienced by a program on Thursday evening and tying a season low. But the two-hour event easily helped Practice boost its ratings numbers for the week, as it was the only series to see an improvement of any kind, rising 18 percent. Wipeout (5.1 million, 1.5) remained steady, pushing ABC to a third place finish on the night behind Fox and CBS.

CBS wasn't so lucky with its lineup with its programs all seeing declines. Though Theory tied Idol as the night's top-rated program, it was down 11 percent from its last original, while lead-out Rob! dropped just 3 percent. Person of Interest (13.2 million, 2.9) dropped 12 percent, while The Mentalist (13.6 million, 2.8) stumbled 7 percent.

NBC's Thursday woes continued, with three comedies hitting series lows. Parks & Recreation (3.5 million, 1.7), steady from its last episode; The Office (4.3 million, 2.2); and Up All Night (3 million, 1.5) all tied or reached new lows this week. 30 Rock (3.6 million, 1.4) dropped 13 percent from the previous episode. A rerun of Grimm (2 million, 0.7) aired at 10 p.m.

The CW's The Vampire Diaries (2.9 million, 1.3) and The Secret Circle (1.8 million, 0.8) both held steady from last week's episode.

8 p.m.
Fox: American Idol (16.5 million total viewers, 5.0 rating in adults 18-49)
CBS: The Big Bang Theory (15.5 million, 5.0)
ABC: Wipeout (5.1 million, 1.4)
NBC: 30 Rock (3.6 million, 1.4)
The CW: The Vampire Diaries (2.9 million, 1.3)

8:30 p.m.
CBS: Rob! (10.9 million, 3.2)
ABC: Parks and Recreation (3.5 million, 1.7)

9 p.m.
ABC: Grey's Anatomy (8.1 million, 3.1)
CBS: Person of Interest (13.2 million, 2.9)
NBC: The Office (4.3 million, 2.2)
The CW: The Secret Circle (1.8 million, 0.8)

9:30 p.m.
NBC: Up All Night (3 million, 1.5)

10 p.m.
CBS: The Mentalist (13.6 million, 2.8)
ABC: Private Practice (7.1 million, 2.6)
NBC: Grimm (R) (2 million, 0.7)