'Big Bang Theory' Continues to Surge While 'American Idol' Sputters TVbytheNumbers

The battle for Thursday night supremacy between CBS and Fox continues to be one of the most compelling ratings fights of the season, with the two networks settling for a draw last night in the key 18-49 demo. reports that both networks wound up with 3.2 average ratings in viewers 18-49 for the night, finishing ahead of ABC (2.3 average) and NBC (1.6). Total viewers went to CBS with 13.7 million to 10.8 million for Fox, followed by ABC with 6.8 million and NBC with 3.3 million.

The CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” won its head-to-head battle at 8 p.m. with Fox’s once-dominant “American Idol,” averaging a 5.2 rating in 18-49 to “Idol’s” 4.0 for the half-hour. The full hour broadcast of “Idol” managed a 4.4, but that was down 14% from a week ago and off a whopping 39% from a year earlier, the story notes. “Big Bang,” in contrast, was up a tenth of a point from last week.

CBS also got a strong performance from “Person of Interest” at 9 p.m., with the drama rising three tenths from a week earlier to a 3.1 average in 18-49, tying it for the first time this season with its time-slot competition on ABC, “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The bad news for CBS came at 10 p.m., when “The Mentalist” slipped 7% to tie its season low with a 2.5 rating in viewers 18-49 -- still good enough to win the hour over ABC’s “Private Practice” (2.2) and a repeat of NBC’s “Grimm” (0.9).