Long an also-ran on Thursday night, Fox has made up for it in the last two weeks -- big time.
That little show "American Idol" has something to do with it, pulling perhaps the biggest number for any Thursday show in a while -- a Nielsen preliminary 7.6 rating/21 share among 18-49 viewers, just down a tick from a 7.8/22 of a week ago.
That's two Thursday wins for Fox in a row -- very much expected. But the troubling news is that for the second week in a row, the "Idol" result show numbers were again down some 23% from the same episodes a year ago when they ran on Wednesday night.
CBS had been the big network star of the night since the start of the season in September, all due to moving its surging "Big Bang Theory" into the big Thursday-night limelight. CBS fared okay in the first head-to-head matchup with "Bang," getting to a 4.2/12 against 7.0/19 for "Idol" in the 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. time period -- down just 5% from its most recent original episode.
This week CBS decided to move more to the sidelines, putting "Bang" in a repeat mode. Still, for a rerun, "Bang" earned a decent 2.4/7, equaling ABC's "Winter Wipeout" numbers for second place in the 8 p.m. time period. (ABC went to reruns the rest of the night with "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice.")
CBS was in reruns most of the night -- perhaps still waiting for a bigger February period. Only "$#*! My Dad Says" was active at 8:30 a.m. -- posting a 2.3/6, which is a series low, due to "Bang"'s weaker lead-in.
A hidden benefit from "Idol" is the nice push it has been giving to Fox's longtime sturdy crime procedural "Bones" -- now up 11% to a 3.9 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 rating, its highest rating in nearly four years. It was up from another healthy 3.6/10 the week before -- "Idol" debut on Thursday.
NBC's second week of running three hours of comedy on Thursday still didn't do much -- especially for its new show "Perfect Couples," which is down almost 20% to a 1.7/4 among 18-49 viewers at 8:30 p.m.
At 9 p.m.,"The Office" slipped 11% to a 4.0/11; "Parks & Recreation" was down 6% to a 3.0/8; "30 Rock" at 10 p.m. gave up 11% to a 2.4/7 -- with "Outsourced", at 10:30 p.m., as the only NBC comedy improving, 6% more to a 1.9 rating/6.
The overall numbers of the night had Fox at a 5.8/15; NBC, 2.5/7; CBS, 2.1/6; ABC, 1.6/4; Univision, 1.5/4; and CW, 1.3/4.