February 24, 2012 9:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: 'Big Bang Theory' Bests 'American Idol,' Tying CBS and Fox on Thursday
Fast national ratings give American Idol a 4.4 rating with adults 18-49 on Thursday night, marking a 14 percent drop from last week and a 39 percent drop year-over-year.
The show will likely be adjusted up when final numbers come in, but it won't approach the 5.2 demo draw that CBS' Big Bang Theory brought in. The night's highest-rated program also drew 16.11 million (over Idol's 15.4 million), pushing CBS to a win in viewers and a tie in 18-49-ers.
CBS averaged a 3.2 in adults, matching Fox -- which followed Idol with a 2.0 (down two tenths) showing of The Finder. The rest of CBS was mixed, with Rob down to a 3.0 in adults 18-49 and Person of Interest up to a 3.1 in the demo. It tied its biggest competition, ABC's Grey's Anatomy, for the first time all season. The Mentalist was down to a 2.5 rating for a season low.
Holding down a 2.3 in adults 18-49 and 6.8 million viewers, ABC kicked off the night with a steady Wipeout at 1.5. Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice both fell, with the former down just a tenth of a point to a 3.1 and the latter losing 15 percent for a 2.2.
NBC was the only network to not lose any ground. 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation tied their previous showings, a 1.5 and 1.7 adults 18-49 rating, respectively. The Office grew 13 percent to a 2.6 in the demo, with Up All Night jumping 20 percent to a 1.8. A repeat of Grimm (0.9) finished off the night, giving the peacock a 1.6 adults rating and 3.3 million viewers.
The CW aired repeats of The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle, averaging a 0.4 rating among 18-49-ers for the night.