NFL Games Boost CBS

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CBS won its first Thursday night of the season -- possibly with a little help from the NFL Network.

The season's second NFL prime-time Thursday night game between the New York Jets-Denver Broncos pulled in 7.1 million, and a 2.9 rating, among 18-49 viewers. After two games, "Thursday Night Football" is up 17% to 6.1 million versus the first two games of a year ago.

Overall, CBS earned a 3.2/8 for the night. Most of its shows were down for the night versus the week before, but "Rules of Engagement" at 8:30 p.m. ended up scoring higher -- drafting on the wheel of "Big Bang" to earn a 3.6/1 -- good for second-best-rated show of the night.

Although CBS was down for the night, other Thursday night shows -- Fox's "X Factor" as well as NBC's "The Office" and other series aimed at the young audience that is one the NFL games target -- were affected.

CBS's "Big Bang Theory" -- which also gets young viewers -- still owned the night with a Nielsen preliminary 5.2 rating/15 among 18-49 viewers at 8:30 p.m. -- well ahead of all other shows, although down a bit versus the week before. 

The NFL Network game got a 2.9 rating among 18-49 viewers -- not bad, considering the network is only in about half of all TV homes. It also grabbed 7.1 million overall viewers. By way of comparison, CBS pulled in 12.2 million total average viewers in prime time on Thursday. Fox was at 9.1 million; ABC, 7.5 million; NBC, 4.3 million; Univision, 3.7 million; and CW, 2.6 million.

Fox scored a 2.9/8 for the night. Fox's "The X Factor" was a big loser, down 9% from last week to a series-low 3.0/8. But "Bones" at 9 p.m. gained about the same, percentage-wise, to a 2.8/7.

NBC earned a 1.8/5. It lost 15% at 10 p.m. from now-cancelled '"Prime Suspect," which fell 15% to a 1.1/3. But there's more. "The Office" slipped a bit to a new season-low 2.9/7. At 9:30 p.m., NBC' newbie "Whitney" sank to a series-low 1.9/5.

ABC, at a 2.2/6 for the night, was lower versus the week before --mostly becuase of the two-hour "Private Practice," with an 11% decline to a 2.5/7.

Univision landed at a 1.6/4; and CW at 0.8/2.

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