While Fox got no improvement from its highly touted "X-Factor" on its second night, the network could still crow about its first fall season Thursday night win with regularly scheduled programming in years.
Fox pulled in an overall Nielsen preliminary 4.1 rating/11 share among key 18-49 viewers -- all this thanks to a two-hour "X-Factor." The show lost just a couple of tenths of a rating point from its Wednesday start, where it earned a 4.4/12.
Fox also easily won the race among younger viewers 18-34 with a 3.4 rating/10 share, a key viewer group for the night for getting heavy business from theatrical movie marketers for their weekend film openings.
Taking it on the chin a little were CBS and ABC -- two former Thursday night leaders that were around a half-rating point back from Fox: CBS with a 3.6/10 and ABC with a 3.4/9.
CBS had the best-rated show of the night -- the second half-hour of the season premiere of "The Big Bang Theory" episode at 8:30 p.m., which earned a 5.0/14. The first half-hour episode of "Theory" also took in a strong 4.8/15.
While "X-Factor" doesn't seem to be the next "American Idol" among TV industry analysts in terms of really big ratings, it did seem to factor into some declines for Thursday mainstay shows' season premieres, such as ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and NBC's "The Office." "Anatomy" was down over 20% to a 4.1/11 for a special two-hour version, from a 5.3 season premiere rating a year ago. "Office" dipped over 10% (also perhaps in part because Steve Carell is no longer on the show) to a 3.9/10.
Some new shows had some uneven starts. The best performer of these was the heavily marketed "Whitney" from NBC, which opened up with a solid 3.2/8 at 9:30 p.m.
CBS' "Person of Interest" at 9 p.m. also had a good opening -- a 3.1/8 at 9 p.m., against some heavy competition.
Less interest was generated by ABC's "Charlie's Angels" earlier in the night at 8 p.m. -- just a modest 2.1/6. Later, another new drama, NBC's "Prime Suspect," pulled with a decent 1.8/5 among the 18-49 crowd.
NBC's other Thursday comedies struggled a bit. "Community" dropped over 20% to a 1.7/5, and "Parks & Recreation" was 20% under what "30 Rock" earned a year ago, at a 2.0/6.
CW -- against strong competition from new shows this Thursday -- went south with "The Vampire Diaries" to a 1.2/3, down around 20% versus the week before in the broader viewer 18-49 group. A bit more troubling was that its new "Secret Circle" lost ground of some 30% to a 0.9/2.
After Fox, CBS, and ABC, NBC tallied in fourth place for Thursday among the 18-49 viewer group, with a 2.4/6. Univision was at a 1.6/4 and CW earned a 1.0/3.