'Bang' Challenges Falling 'Idol'

Big-Bang-TheoryNetwork television got a lot closer on Thursday night -- sometimes broadcast television's most closely watched night of television -- as CBS gained on Fox.

Preliminary Nielsen results show another steep drop for Fox's "American Idol" -- down nearly 30% for last year's Thursday opening night to a 5.6/15 among 18-49 viewers. The show was only four-tenths of a rating point ahead of CBS' "Big Bang Theory" -- also running at 8 p.m. -- which came in at a 5.2/14.

For the night, Fox was still ahead of CBS -- at 3.9/10 to a 3.5/9 -- among 18-49 viewers.

CBS was seemingly unharmed by the arrival of "Idol," back with its Thursday results show. (On Wednesday's "performance" show, "Idol" recorded a 27% drop from its season 10 opener a year ago.) "Big Bang" was only down one-tenth of a rating point versus a week ago.

Better still, CBS' new comedy "Rob" at 8:30 p.m. also held up against the second hour of "Idol," down 12% to a 3.6/9. At 9 p.m., "Person Of Interest" was up a bit to a 3.3/8. CBS' "The Mentalist" at 10 p.m. was at a 2.9/8, up 7%.

But other networks seem to suffer with "Idol." ABC had a 2.5/6 on the night, and NBC was at a 1.7/4. ABC's "Wipeout" was down 18% to a 2.2/5;  "Grey's Anatomy" was off 11% to a 3.4/8; and "Private Practice" dropped to a 2.1/5.

NBC's "30 Rock" was off 11% to a 1.6/4; "Parks & Recreation" climbed a bit to a 2.0/5. "The Office" was even at 2.9/7, while "Up All Night" down 5% to a 1.9/5. "The Firm" saw another 10% decline to a 0.9/2.

Univision came in at a 1.5/4, and The CW was at a 0.9/2.



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