TV Ratings: ‘Big Bang Theory,’ ‘Vampire Diaries’ and Vice President debate lead Thursday

Fast National ratings for Thursday, October 11, 2012. 
Playoff baseball and NFL football took a big bite out of network audiences on Thursday night, while the Vice Presidential debate took away many primetime favorites. In the end, though, it was “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men” carrying CBS to nightly wins among adults 18-49. 
One of the big stories of the early ratings would be The CW’s strong return for “The Vampire Diaries” and solid premiere for “Beauty and the Beast,” though with Pittsburgh’s CW affiliate showing the Steelers game, those numbers will likely to change. Then again, FOX had the Nashville side of the football game and “The X Factor” didn’t get a bump.
Expect reasonable large changes to a lot of these numbers.
Among adults 18-49, CBS averaged a 2.7 rating for Thursday primetime, beating FOX’s 2.4 rating in the key demographic. NBC’s 1.9 rating and the 1.7 rating for ABC followed. The CW averaged a competitive 1.4 key demo rating for the night.
Overall, CBS averaged 9.35 million viewers and a 6.0 rating/9 share for the night. ABC’s 4.4/7 and 6.91 million viewers and the 4.1/6 and 6.8 million viewers for FOX followed, with NBC’s 5.73 million viewers and 3.7/6 close behind. The CW averaged a 2.0/3 and 3.32 million viewers for Thursday night.
8 p.m. – Both “The Big Bang Theory” (13.77 million viewers and a 4.2 key demo) and “Two and a Half Men” (11.17 million viewers and a 3.4 key demo) were down from last week but controlled the 8 p.m. hour for CBS. FOX’s “The X Factor” averaged 8.25 million viewers and a 2.9 rating among adults 18-49, also off from last week. Continuing the trend, ABC’s “Last Resort” slipped to 6.93 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo rating in third. NBC’s “30 Rock” (3.82 million and a 1.4 key demo) and “Up All Night” (3.46 million and a 1.2 key demo) finished fourth overall and fifth in the key demo. The return of “The Vampire Diaries” averaged 3.48 million viewers and a 1.6 key demo rating, beating both ABC and NBC among adults 18-49. We’ll see how much removing football — preemptions in 3.5 percent of the country — drops those CW numbers.
9 p.m. – It was All Debating All The Time for the rest of primetime. CBS’ debate coverage averaged 8.32 million viewers and a 2.2 key demo rating. ABC’s debate coverage averaged 7.48 million and a 1.9 key demo rating compared to the 7.12 million and 2.2 key demo rating for NBC’s coverage. FOX’s debating averaged only 5.345 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo. On The CW, the football-inflated premiere of “Beauty and the Beast” drew 3.16 million viewers and a 1.3 key demo rating. [That was basically in line with last fall’s “Secret Circle” premiere and will probably end up a hair lower after adjustment.]
10 p.m. – CBS moved into first with 7.265 million viewers for debate coverage, finishing second with a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49. NBC’s debate coverage averaged 6.42 million viewers and a 2.1 key demo rating. And ABC’s debate coverage did 6.33 million viewers and a 1.6 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, particularly in the case of live events.