February 03, 2012 9:04am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Big Bang' Ties Stable 'American Idol,' Tops in Head-to-Head Competition
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).
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:
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)
CBS: Rob (11.3 million, 3.4)
ABC: Parks and Recreation (3.6 million, 1.8)
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)
NBC: Up All Night (3.8 million, 1.8)
CBS: The Mentalist (13.5 million, 2.8)
ABC: Private Practice (6.7 million, 2.3)
NBC: The Firm (2.98 million, 0.8)