TV Ratings Thursday: 'Big Bang' Beats 'American Idol;' 'Person of Interest' Rises, Ties 'Grey's Anatomy;' 'Rob,' 'The Mentalist' Down

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February 24th, 2012

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CBS and Fox tied for top honors with adults 18-49. But The Big Bang Theory drew a 5.2 adults 18-49 rating (up a tenth from last week) comfortably besting American Idol's 4.0 rating for the common half hour. For the full hour, American Idol drew a 4.4 adults 18-49 rating, down 14% from last week and down an alarming 39% versus the year ago Thursday night telecast. American Idol will likely be adjusted up a tenth or two, but that won't make up for the week over week drop, let alone the year over year plummet.

CBS's Person of Interest was up three tenths vs. last week to a 3.1 adults 18-49 rating and for the first time this season tied with ABC's Grey's Anatomy. Rob fell 6% to a series low 3.0 adults 18-49 rating and The Mentalist fell 7% to a season low-tying 2.5 adults 18-49 rating.

Fox's The Finder delivered a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, down two-tenths from its last original two weeks ago.  ABC's Private Practice was down 15% to a 2.2 adults 18-49 rating. The 3.1 adults 18-49 rating for Grey's Anatomy ties its series low.

30 Rock was flat vs. last week with a 1.5 adults 18-49 rating and Parks & Recreation was also flat (albeit tied with its low) with a 1.7 adults 18-49 rating. The Office was up 13% to a 2.6 adults 18-49 rating and Up All Night was up 20% to a 1.8 adults 18-49 rating.

Late-night ratings are below the primetime data.

Overnight ratings for Thursday, February 23, 2012:

Time Net Show 18-49 Rating/Sh Viewers (Millions)
8:00 CBS The Big Bang Theory 5.2/15 16.11
FOX American Idol 4.4/13 15.39
ABC Wipeout 1.5/4 4.99
NBC 30 Rock 1.5/4 3.71
CW Vampire Diaries (R) 0.5/1 1.29
8:30 CBS Rob 3.0/8 10.63
NBC Parks & Recreation 1.7/5 3.42
9:00 CBS Person of Interest 3.1/8 14.41
ABC Grey's Anatomy 3.1/8 8.91
NBC The Office 2.6/7 4.98
FOX The Finder 2.0/5 6.22
CW Supernatural (R) 0.3/1 0.91
9:30 NBC Up All Night 1.8/4 3.45
10:00 CBS The Mentalist 2.5/7 13.18
ABC Private Practice 2.2/6 6.41
NBC Grimm (R) 0.9/3 2.22

Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2012 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved.

Via NBC press notes:

In Late-Night Metered Markets Thursday night:

  • In Nielsen's 56 metered markets, household results were: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," 2.5/6; CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," 2.7/7; and ABC's combo of "Nightline," 2.9/7; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 1.4/4.
  • In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, adult 18-49 results were: “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” 0.7/4; "Late Show," 0.7/3; "Nightline," 1.0/4; and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," 0.5/3.
  • At 12:35 a.m., "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (1.3/4 in metered-market households) tied CBS's "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" (1.3/5).  In the 25 markets with Local People Meters, "Late Night" (0.5/3 in 18-49) topped "Late Late Show" (0.4/3).
  • At 1:35 a.m., "Last Call with Carson Daly" averaged a 0.8/4 in metered-market households and a 0.3/3 in adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with local people meters.


NOTE: All national ratings are "live plus same day DVR viewing" from Nielsen Media Research unless otherwise indicated.

You can see TV ratings from other recent Overnight ratings reports here.


Fast Affiliate Ratings: These first national ratings, including demographics, are available at approximately 11 AM (ET) the day after telecast, and are released to subscribing customers daily. These data, from the National People Meter sample, are strictly time-period information, based on the normal broadcast network feed, and include all programming on the affiliated stations, sometimes including network programming, sometimes not. The figures may include stations that did not air the entire network feed, as well as local news breaks or cutaways for local coverage or other programming. Fast Affiliate ratings are not as useful for live programs and are likely to differ significantly from the final results, because the data reflect normal broadcast feed patterns. For example, with a World Series game, Fast Affiliate Ratings would include whatever aired from 8-11PM on affiliates in the Pacific Time Zone, following the live baseball game, but not game coverage that begins at 5PM PT. The same would be true of Presidential debates as well as live award shows and breaking news reports.

Rating: Estimated percentage of the universe of TV households (or other specified group) tuned to a program in the average minute. Ratings are expressed as a percent.

Share (of Audience): The percent of households (or persons) using television who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time. (See also, Rating, which represents tuning or viewing as a percent of the entire population being measured.)

Time Shifted Viewing – Program ratings for national sources are produced in three streams of data – Live, Live+Same Day (Live+SD) and Live+7 Day. Time shifted figures account for incremental viewing that takes place with DVRs. Live+Same Day (Live+SD) include viewing during the same broadcast day as the original telecast, with a cut-off of 3:00AM local time when meters transmit daily viewing to Nielsen for processing. Live+7 Day ratings include incremental viewing that takes place during the 7 days following a telecast.

For more information see Numbers 101.

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