TV Ratings: ‘American Idol’ leads Thursday, while ‘Community’ tops ‘Missing’ premiere

Fast National ratings for Thursday, March 15, 2012.
The Spring Forward Bandit took a bite out of the “American Idol” Thursday results, but still helped FOX win the night both overall and among young viewers.
Meanwhile, among tidbits of interest to readers: 
“Community” returned from its spring hiatus with improbably strong demo numbers without “Big Bang Theory” as competition, while sluggish basketball returns also helped NBC’s “Awake” add viewers for its third episode. 
Also, ABC’s Ashley Judd drama “Missing” got off to a solid start overall, but lagged among young viewers, ranking behind “Community” among adults 18-49 and ranking behind The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” return among adults 18-34 and with women 18-34.
And, finally, FOX’s encore of the “Touch” premiere topped all recent airings of “The Finder” post-“Idol,” presumably making FOX optimistic for the show’s actual time period premiere next week.
[Reminder: In the aftermath of Sunday morning’s time change, most primetime early-evening numbers will likely be lower-than-usual this week, a peculiar phenomenon that occurs every year.]
Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 3.4 rating for Thursday night, beating ABC’s 2.4 rating in the key demographic. NBC was third for the night with a 1.9 rating, dropping CBS to fourth with a 1.7 rating. The CW averaged a 1.0 key demo rating for the night.
Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 12.09 million viewers and a 7.2 rating/12 share. ABC was second with a 6.0/10 and 9.08 million viewers. There was a big drop to CBS’ 3.1/5 and 4.72 million viewers, with NBC’s 2.8/5 and 4.59 million viewers taking fourth. The CW averaged a 1.3/2 and 2.12 million viewers.
8 p.m. – “American Idol” started primetime in first with 15.52 million viewers and a 4.5 rating among adults 18-49 for FOX. ABC’s “Missing” premiere averaged 10.56 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo rating, actually coming in lower than the September key demo premiere for “Charlie’s Angels.” NBC was third with “Community” (4.89 million viewers and a whopping 2.2 key demo rating) and “30 Rock” (4.045 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo rating). CBS’ NCAA Tournament coverage averaged only 4.27 million viewers and a 1.5 key demo rating. On The CW, “The Vampire Diaries” returned with 2.62 million viewers and a 1.2 key demo rating.
9 p.m. – ABC moved into first for the 9 p.m. hour with 9.67 million viewers and a 3.0 rating among adults 18-49 for “Grey’s Anatomy.” FOX was second with 8.67 million viewers and a 2.2 key demo rating for the “Touch” encore. CBS’ basketball improved to 5.65 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo rating in its second hour. NBC’s “The Office” (4.88 million viewers and a 2.3 key demo rating) continued to slide, while “Up All Night” (3.63 million and a 1.7 key demo) was steady from last week. The CW’s “The Secret Circle” averaged 1.62 million viewers and a 0.7 key demo rating.
10 p.m. – “Private Practice” kept ABC in first for the 10 p.m. hour with 7.005 million viewers and a 2.2 rating among adults 18-49. NBC’s “Awake” rose to 5.05 million viewers and was flat with a 1.6 key demo rating in second. NCAA Tournament coverage averaged 4.24 million viewers and a 1.5 key demo rating for CBS.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.