Ratings: Big Bang Scores Big Win Over Idol, Person of Interest Catches Grey's in Demo

The Big Bang Theory this week perhaps pulled off its biggest Thursday win to date, besting American Idol not only in head-to-head competition but overall as well.

Inching up a few percentage points week-to-week, Big Bang drew 16.1 million total viewers and a 5.2 demo rating, while Idol did 14 mil/4.0 in the shared half-hour and 15.4 mil/4.4 across the full 60 minutes.

The CBS hitcom thus emerged as Thursday’s most-watched and highest-rated program. And you got to see Sheldon play the bongos.

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Idol meanwhile was down 13 percent in the demo versus last Thursday, while year-over-year Night 2 of the Top 24 reveal was off by 28 and 37 percent.

Among the night’s big gainers, The Office (5 mil/2.6) was up 14 percent, while lead-out Up All Night (3.45 mil/1.8) rose 16 and 20 percent. On the flip side, Private Practice felt the steepest drop, down 9 and 15 percent to 6.4 mil and a 2.2.

Going hour by hour…

8 pm | CBS’ Rob drew 10.6 mil and a 3.0, dipping 6 percent in the demo. Wipeout was steady with 5 million total viewers and a 1.5 rating. NBC’s 30 Rock (3.7 mil/1.5) and Parks and Recreation (3.42 mil/1.7) both were flat.

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9 pm | Person of Interest, up 10 percent to 14.4 million total viewers and a 3.1 rating, led the hour in audience and tied Grey’s Anatomy (steady at 8.9 mil/3.1) in the demo for the first time ever. Fox’s The Finder (6.2 mil/2.0) dipped a tenth in the demo.

10 pm | The Mentalist (13.2 mil/2.5) dipped a few percentage points but of course led the hour, with Private Practice, as already noted, slipping some.

What were you tuned into this Thursday? And why do you think Idol‘s Top 24 reveal had markedly fewer viewers versus last season?