TV Ratings: ‘American Idol,’ ‘Big Bang Theory’ lead droopy Thursday

Fast National ratings for Thursday, April 26, 2012.
Did the NFL Draft take a big bite out of Thursday’s primetime audiences? It’s too early to tell, but something certainly caused big declines for CBS’ full slate and for FOX’s “Touch,” though the two networks still earned their Thursday split.
The ratings news wasn’t entirely negative, of course. NBC’s “Community” and a live “30 Rock” had very small gains, as did The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” and “The Secret Circle,” albeit only in young female demos.
For the night, FOX averaged a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49, beating CBS’ 2.6 rating in the key demographic. ABC’s 2.2 rating was third. NBC averaged a 1.4 key demo rating, while The CW posted a 0.8 key demo rating.
Overall, though, CBS came out on top with a 7.2 rating/11 share and an estimated 11.595 million viewers for Thursday primetime. FOX was a respectable second with 10.46 million viewers and a 6.4/10. ABC was third with a 5.2/8 and 7.72 million viewers on average. NBC’s 2.0/3 and 3.1 million viewers and The CW’s 1.71 million and 1.1/2 trailed.
[Univision averaged 3.73 million viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49, continuing its recent trend of beating NBC on what used to be the network’s biggest night.]
8 p.m. – “American Idol” kicked off primetime in first for FOX with 10.45 million viewers and a 3.9 rating among adults 18-49, basically flat week-to-week. CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” (12.52 million and a 4.0 key demo) topped “Idol,” but “Rules of Engagement” (8.35 million and a 2.5 key demo) did not. ABC’s “Missing” was third with 6.9 million viewers and fourth with a 1.3 key demo rating. NBC’s “Community” (3.29 million viewers and a 1.4 key demo) and the live “30 Rock” (3.55 million and a 1.6 key demo) were both up, but not a statistically meaningful amount. The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” averaged 2.23 million viewers and a 1.0 key demo rating.
9 p.m. – CBS’ “Person of Interest” won the 9 p.m. hour overall with just under 12.5 million viewers, but the freshman drama took a big drop among adults 18-49 with a 2.4 rating. ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” was second with 9.27 million viewers and won the hour with a 3.2 key demo rating. FOX’s “Touch” averaged only 6.48 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo rating, as what initially looked like an easy renewal continues to get cloudy. On NBC, “The Office” (4.15 million viewers and a 2.1 key demo) and “Parks and Recreation” (3.21 million and a 1.6 key demo) were down. The CW’s “Secret Circle” averaged 1.19 million viewers and a 0.5 key demo rating.
10 p.m. – “The Mentalist” returned with 11.85 million viewers to win the 10 p.m. hour overall for CBS, but the reliable procedural only tied for the key demo with with a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49. ABC’s “Scandal” averaged 6.98 million viewers and a 2.1 key demo rating, impressive retention against the boosted competition. Meanwhile, NBC’s “Awake” just kept dropping, falling to 2.19 million viewers and a 0.8 key demo rating.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.