Ratings: Big Bang Theory Bests American Idol Again, and By a Wider Margin

Maybe just maybe the geeks shall inherit the Earth. The Big Bang Theory on Thursday night bested reality-TV juggernaut American Idol for a second consecutive week — and this time even more so.

Leonard, Sheldon et al, after last week managing a threadbare win over Idol in the coveted 18-to-49 demo, this time scored a 5.4 rating versus the 4.8 of Idol‘s first half hour. What’s more, in head-to-head competition Big Bang outdrew Idol in total viewers as well, 15.96 million to 15.46 mil. (The CBS hitcom also notched wins in the 18-34 and 25-54 demos.)

Read Michael Slezak’s American Idol: Houston Auditions Recap

Across its full hour, Idol averaged 17 million total viewers and a 5.4 rating, dipping just 5 percent from last Thursday’s audition round. Fox freshman The Finder, leading out of Idol with 8.5 million viewers and a 2.9 rating, was up some 30 percent week-to-week (though it shed 17 percent of its audience throughout the hour).

Elsewhere on Thursday:

* Leading out of the ever-bigger Bang, CBS’ Rob retained 11.58 million total viewers and a 3.5 rating, flat versus last week.

* NBC’s first installment of 30 Rock held steady at 3.84 mil/1.6, Parks and Recreation (3.5 mil/1.7) dropped double digits, and the 9 o’clock 30 Rock (4 mil/1.9) did a third less than the most recent Office.

* Facing Mentalist and Private Practice repeats, NBC’s The Firm (3.8 mil/1.0) saw a 10 percent uptick.

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45 Comments
  1. Natalie says:

    BBT was absolutely hilarious this week. Sheldon and Co. never fail to deliver. Also, the Finder seems to be finding its footing. I’ve quite enjoyed the show so far so I hope it sticks around!

  2. Ari says:

    Glad to read it! I watched TBBT yesterday because both The Vampire Diaries and Community were not on.

  3. Bartleby says:

    Just curious, but do these numbers include DVR views. I watched both AI and BBT, but I didn’t watch either of them at 8. I watched 30 Rock at 8 and the others later in the evening. If it doesn’t accurately include DVR plays, I would say these numbers are irrelevant.

    • evs says:

      the final numbers will be available later but they don’t change the picture much. last Thursday it was only +0.1 in demo for both.

    • danielcw says:

      I’d say it is the other way round. DVR ratings are almost irrelevant, because those viewers do not watch commercials, do not really help to finance the shows.

      • Amanda says:

        They are not irrelevant. A huge number of people pretty much only watch DVR’d/online shows. TPTB are SLOWLY figuring that out. Thus, more product placement during the shows themselves. TV ratings are going to have to change soon to keep up with the new way we watch TV.

  4. evss says:

    LOVE BBT. So very happy about this.

  5. Harry says:

    Can NBC be in a bigger royal mess than what it is now. I love 30 Rock, but these niche comedies and The Firm must all go.

    If you cannot get a 2.0 in the demo, especially when ABC is in repeats and CBS is in partial repeats, then you are in sooo much trouble.

    • Dash says:

      I think NBC has the strongest comedies on television. The ratings don’t show it. Community, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock are all very good, especially Community and Parks. If NBC is doing anything right, it is in the comedy department. Their dramas suck but their comedies are great and deserve better ratings.

      • Blogger says:

        You must not watch FX. Archer, Louie, The League, Wilfred [the only one I don't watch, but have heard good things], It’s Always Sunny in Philly. FX is the place for comedy.

        • moli says:

          I think Parks and Rec and Community are right up there with FX shows like Louie and The League (I haven’t seen the others you mentioned). But let’s face it, the FX shows are also low-rated and under-appreciated. The real shame here is that quality comedies, whether on network or cable, don’t draw large audiences, while people can’t seem to get enough of the garbage Chuck Lorre produces for CBS.

      • topstyturvy says:

        I must diagree. ABC now has the strongest with Wednesday’s line-up of The Middle, Modern Family and Happy Endings. Suburgatory isn’t up to the standards of those three but it still averages out to a much funnier two hours than anything comedy wise on NBC.

      • Nadine says:

        I agree. 30 Rock really brought it on Thursday, especially with the 2nd episode, so much goodness in there!

  6. Snapy says:

    Hopefully American Idol will be cancelled soon. It hasn’t been good since the Kelly Clarkson season.

  7. kevin says:

    Which Thursday night rivals should they consider: IDOL vs. BIG BANG THEORY or GREY’S ANATOMY vs. PERSON OF INTEREST?

  8. Renee says:

    Congrats BBT! I don’t watch either, but I’m always happy to see ‘reality shows’ lose. WTG!

    • Danielle H says:

      Same. I don’t watch either (watched Idol on and off around the middle of its run, and I’ve never watched BBT although I wish I had!). Anything that brings death to the reality shows. Idol just keep dropping, which is a good sign.

  9. Joe says:

    Everyone I know quit watching Idol after that awful Scotty won. Glad to see it sinking as a result.

    • JJ says:

      Yes, poor, poor Scotty. Certified platinum, still on Billboard’s top 40. And he’s already 18. Yep, that career is so over.

  10. ken says:

    only 15m. and a 4.8 demo. could this lead to one of idol’s worst seasons? looks like the show is losing it’s momentum and might have a repeat of the less-than-stellar #”s x-factor ended up w/ hmm? p.s big bang was kinda awful this week, jmo.

    • Melissa29 says:

      Idol is losing momentum due to reality talent-competition overload, voting being hijacked by teeny boppers, the judges really having no good constructive criticism, and it’s just plain boring. I used to love it. I guess I grew up.

    • CJ says:

      It could also be the move from Tuesday-Wednesday to Wednesday-Thursday, though I suspect it’s the effect of having The Voice and X-Factor having aired since the last Idol cycle. In years past, fans would’ve been waiting about 9 months since getting their appetite for televised karaoke. Now they’re getting it pretty much year-round.

  11. Betty says:

    I too am enoying The Finder. I am glad it is gaining each week. I didn’t really like the pilot, but it has been improving each week. The cast is working well together.

  12. MikaMikea says:

    Everyone knows that Idol’s rating will decline once they get into the competition rounds. Idol’s ratings always are higher in these early audition rounds. I would say their forecast is bleak.

  13. Lambsilencer says:

    The problem with “The Finder” this week was… SPOILER ALERT!

    … Jodi Lyn O’Keefe guest starring. Her playing a dual personality was impossible to hide with her striking facial features. When the “roommate” appeared, everyone who remotely knows the actress immediately knew what was going on. Thus, I think many people switched channels because it was not as exciting anymore to follow the case.

  14. TV fan says:

    The Big Bang Theory is better than ever!

    So glad to see the ratings reflecting that much

  15. Eli says:

    Is it wrong that I watched TBBT just so it could beat idol? Nah!

    • jake says:

      It ain’t wrong…just a stupid thing to do…unless you’re a nielsen family you’re not counted. So you completely wasted your time unless of course you like TBBT.

  16. Becca says:

    I wonder if the Big Bang viewer increase has something to do with Community no longer being on at 8.

    • Alex says:

      I’d blame that one primarily on 30 Rock being held for midseason, as well as the addition of Up All Night, Whitney, and Are You There Chelsea to the schedule.

      CBS comedy viewership is up in general this season though, it’s not just Big Bang, How I Met Your Mother is hitting much higher this season than the past view, and Two and a Half Men is also up.

  17. hru says:

    I think the market is sick to death of these sing song shows. we donot watch any of them anymore. Idol, That other on that has Simon, voice Glee And now another new one called smash? Good grief enough with them.

  18. Steve T says:

    Love TBBT but didn’t think this show was up to their usual standards. Loved the Raj parts but not so much the Sheldon parts. Getting hooked on The Finder. Really like the 3 main characters but am lukewarm about Willa.

  19. Pam says:

    Impressive, considering this was one of tBBTs weaker episodes, imo. However, you don’t know it’s weak until after you watched it.

  20. Dot says:

    NBC has awsum comedys on Thursday nights its just a lack of viewers parks and recreation is such an amazing show wish people would tune in its really funny and and has the funniest cash and really funny guest stars can’t wait when louie c.k comes back!:D

  21. Dave says:

    Parks & Rec was hilarious last night, especially Ron and Tom!!

  22. Francy says:

    BBT was great last night. Sheldon and Amy’s attempt at the “Fun with Flags” video podcast was hysterical. I love that I now know Oregon is the only state flag with two different sides. And, Raj’s flirtation with Siri was great and kinda sad too. So glad it beat AI.

  23. JD says:

    Of course TBBT won. Who doesn’t want to have fun with flags??
    Great show. Just bring back Rules to follow it.

  24. sandee says:

    Not surprised BBT did well last night that bit with Raj and the cell phone was so funny.

  25. josh says:

    what does this mean for community? and will nbc be changing their comedy night since they clearly cannot compete with CBS

  26. Melisa says:

    About time, never watched idol and never will. I can’t believe idol still exist. Cancel it and put better stuff on tv already.

  27. Amber says:

    I am curious how 30 Rock is doing in the 8:00 spot compared to what Community was doing there when it was on. Is NBC finding the golden ratings they thought they were going to get by putting my favorite show on hiatus? I hope not. I hope NBC has learned an important lesson.

    I am also super excited for the return of Louis. I hadn’t even thought about it being on Thursdays until someone above mentioned it. Is it returning soon then?

  28. Aiping Wang says:

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