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TV Ratings: 'Big Bang' Ties Stable 'American Idol,' Tops in Head-to-Head Competition

The CBS comedy continues to be a Thursday juggernaut, though 'Idol' was down only 2 percent for an easy Fox win

Big Bang Thery American Idol Feb 2 Split - H 2012
CBS/FOX

The Big Bang Theory is proving to be a worthy opponent to American Idol. For the third week in a row, the comedy bested the singing competition, head-to-head, between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. Fast national ratings give Theory a 5.4 in adults 18-49, down a tenth from last week, but still topping Idol's 5.0 in the demo during the same time.

American Idol still owned the hour, improving between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. for an hourly average of a 5.4 rating, tying Theory. It led into The Finder, down 14 percent from last week's ratings surge for a 2.4 in adults 18-49 -- still topping its season average. The duo gave Fox the top spot of the night with a 3.9 in the demo and 12 million viewers (second to CBS).

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If early numbers hold up, CBS' Big Bang Theory scored its strongest Thursday showing in viewers to date, with 16.4 million. It was followed by an even Rob (3.4 in 18-49) and Person of Interest (a series high 3.3 rating). The Mentalist also won 10:00 p.m. with a 2.8 among adults. Altogether, CBS netted a 3.5 for the night with 14.1 million viewers.

ABC was largely flat with its last originals, which aired two weeks ago. Contributing to the network's overall score of a 2.5 in adults 18-49 were Wipeout (even at 1.8), Grey's Anatomy (even at 3.5) and Private Practice (up 10 percent for a 2.3). An average of 7.4 million viewers tuned into ABC over the course of the night.

30 Rock continued to find trouble in its 8:00 p.m. time period, hitting a series low of a 1.3 in adults 18-49. Parks & Recreation climbed a bit for a 1.8 in the demo, followed by a season low for The Office (2.7), a small drop for Up All Night (1.8) and a 20 percent drop for The Firm. The freshman drama pulled in just a 0.8 in adults 18-49. NBC averaged a 1.5 for the night with 3.6 million viewers.

On the CW, The Vampire Diaries rose 9 percent for a 1.2 in adults 18-49, followed by a flat Secret Circle, which pulled in a 0.7.
 

Thursday, Feb. 2, Overnight Ratings:

8 p.m.
Fox: American Idol (17.1 million viewers, 5.4 rating among adults 18-49)
CBS: The Big Bang Theory (16.4 million, 5.4)
ABC: Wipeout (5.9 million, 1.8)
NBC: 30 Rock (3.2 million, 1.3)
The CW: The Vampire Diaries (2.7 million, 1.2)

8:30 p.m.
CBS: Rob (11.3  million, 3.4)
ABC: Parks and Recreation (3.6 million, 1.8)

9 p.m.
ABC: Grey's Anatomy (9.6 million, 3.5)
CBS: Person of Interest (14.9 million, 3.3)
NBC: The Office (5.3 million, 2.7)
FOX: The Finder (6.9 million, 2.4)
The CW: The Secret Circle (1.7 million, 0.7)

9:30 p.m.
NBC: Up All Night (3.8 million, 1.8)

10 p.m.
CBS: The Mentalist (13.5 million, 2.8)
ABC: Private Practice (6.7 million, 2.3)
NBC: The Firm (2.98 million, 0.8)