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'Big Bang Theory' beats 'American Idol' outright for first time

For the first time in five years, another TV series has beaten American Idol outright in the Nielsen ratings to win the night.

After weeks of near-topples and ties, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory overtook Fox’s Idol on Thursday. And when it finally happened, the margin wasn’t small in the adult demo: Big Bang had 16.1 million viewers and a 5.2 rating in the adult demo, while Idol had 15.4 million and a 4.4 rating. Idol fell 14 percent from last week to a new low (clearly the strategy of draaaagging out revealing the Top 24 contestants didn’t work out).

Though there’s been “Big Bang tops Idol” headlines for weeks now, they’ve been based on somewhat premature math, slicing up Idol into half hours like it’s loaf of sourdough instead of a TV show. But now there’s no doubt: Another show beat Idol to win the night. It’s the first time a show has pulled that off since Grey’s Anatomy in 2007. Plus, on the weekly chart, NBC’s The Voice will rank as the highest-rated series, since it topped Wednesday’s edition of Idol, which had a 5.1 to The Voice‘s 6.0.  READ FULL STORY

'Big Bang' beats 'Idol' at 8 but Fox rules night

Everyone taking a winter vacay or something? Viewership has been oddly soft this week for broadcast TV: The Big Four were either down or flat versus last week, according to early results. Though American Idol helped Fox to win Thursday among adults 18-49 (5.0 rating/13 share) and viewers (16.5 million), the show was still down 14 percent in the demo versus last week.

Idol still dominated among adults 25-54 and teens.

CBS came in second for the night with a 3.3/9 in the demo and 13.3 million viewers. Big Bang Theory beat Idol in the first half-hour among 18-49 (5.0/15 versus 4.6/13) and viewers (15.5 million versus 15 million), but it was still down 11 percent from last week. Rob! earned a 3.2/9, down 3 percent from last week, and 10.9 million, followed by Person of Interest (2.9/7, down 12 percent from last week, and 13.2 million) and The Mentalist (2.8/7, down 7 percent from last week, and 13.6 million).

ABC was third in the demo with a 2.4/6, with Wipeout earning a 1.5/4, which tied its season low, and 5.1 million, followed by Grey’s Anatomy (3.1/8, down 23 percent, and 8.1 million) and Private Practice (2.6/7, up 8 percent from last week, and 7 million). NBC hobbled in fourth place, with 30 Rock earning a 1.4/4, down 13 percent from last week, and 3.6 million, followed by Parks and Recreation (1.7/5, flat, 3.5 million), The Office (2.2/6, down 12 percent to a series low, and 4.3 million),  and Up All Night (1.5/4, down 12 percent to a series low, 3 million). That was a repeat of Grimm.

Read more:
‘American Idol’ recap: Vegas Babies
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ recap: Be My Freakin’ Person
’30 Rock’ recap: Jack Attack 

'American Idol' rises to top Thursday ratings

Just when you thought American Idol was going to slip to No. 2 on Thursdays, the veteran reality hit rose last night to win the night by a safe margin for the first time in weeks.

Fox’s American Idol (17.9 million viewers, 5.7 adults 18-49 rating) was up 4 percent for the second night of Hollywood Week, fending off CBS Big Bang Theory (16.1 million, 5.5). Fox’s new drama The Finder (6.5 million, 2.3), however, sank 4 percent despite the stronger lead-in this week.

CBS also had Rob (11 million, 3.4), followed by a perfectly demo-steady Person of Interest (15.1 million, 3.3) and The Mentalist (14.4 million, 2.9). POI matched its season high — the sci-fi crime thriller has managed to grow into a very solid performer for the network. Also, The Mentalist hit a season high among total viewers. READ FULL STORY

Ratings: '30 Rock' hits low; 'Idol' vs. 'Big Bang'

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This is becoming the ratings equivalent of Ali vs. Foreman.

Once again, Fox’s American Idol and CBS’ Big Bang Theory delivered the exact same adult demo rating to top Thursday night. Idol‘s rating dropped a tenth from last week — and so did Big Bang‘s. CBS points out (just like it has for the past three weeks) that Big Bang was higher rated during its half hour. Yet the sitcom can’t quite topple Idol where it counts: Show vs. show to win the night. Can we get Jim Parsons and Ryan Seacrest in a cage match?

Fox led Thursday overall with Idol (17.9 million viewers, 5.4 adult demo rating) and The Finder (6.9 million, 2.4). With the 9 p.m. competition returning last night, the Bones spinoff slipped 14 percent from last week’s surge. READ FULL STORY

'Big Bang' battles 'Idol'; 'The Finder' ratings improve

It’s on: Fox’s American Idol and CBS’ Big Bang Theory battled for Thursday ratings supremacy, with each coming away with claims for the crown.

Idol drew 17 million viewers and a 5.4 rating. That’s down just a few notches from last week. This is a bit of a relief for Fox since it’s less of a drop than Wednesday’s edition, so it suggests the reality hit’s declines could be slowing down. Still, this is the lowest-rated Idol telecast since a results show in the first season, which aired during the summer.

Big Bang had 16 million viewers and also had a 5.4 rating. The usual way to compare shows is against each program’s overall average rather than trying to split them up, in which case Big Bang and Idol are deadlocked in the demo. But another way is to compare Big Bang to Idol‘s first half hour, when the shows were in direct competition. During that period, Big Bang won in the demo and viewers. In either case, this race is getting tighter. For more on this, see Will American Idol get overthrown as TV’s top show? READ FULL STORY

'Idol' ratings drop Thursday, 'Big Bang' narrows gap

UPDATED: The shields are down on Fox’s Death Star.

Night 2 of American Idol saw ratings slippage and a new level of vulnerability for the long-running reality sensation. Idol delivered 18 million viewers and a 5.7 adult demo rating, according to Fox’s time-zone-adjusted nationals. That’s down 27 percent from its Thursday premiere last year and off 23 percent from its season premiere the previous night.

Idol faces tougher competition on Thursday so you expect the show’s rating to fall from its Wednesday opener. But the erosion is nonetheless striking since it put CBS’ nearly steady Big Bang Theory (15.7 million, 5.2) within shouting distance of a show versus show upset. In fact, Big Bang tied the first half hour of Idol in the demo, though this could shift in the afternoon nationals (you don’t normally slice up a show to make a ratings comparison, but the potentially historic nature of any kind of Idol upset has all sides looking very closely at these numbers). READ FULL STORY

'How I Met Your Mother,' 'Chuck,' 'Glee,' 'Gossip Girl': Find out what's next in the Spoiler Room

Happy Thanksgiving, Roomies!

As I’ll likely be in a Turkey coma on Friday, here’s something to be thankful for a little early… Spoiler Room: Special Wednesday/Pre-Holiday/Yay For a Long Weekend Edition! Yup, just a few scoops to take you into your hopefully lovely holiday.

But before the 411 — and at the risk of sounding very sappy — I have to say that I’m very thankful for your readership and highly entertaining comments and questions this year. Here’s to another great one!

On that note, don’t slack! Send questions and ponderings to spoilerroom@ew.com or Tweet ‘em to me @EWSandraG. Be well!

‘HIMYM': ABOUT THE NEXT EPISODE…
The logline for next week’s How I Met Your Mother is incredibly teasey. Observe: When “Robin receives bad news, she decides to lie about it to the gang. Meanwhile, Marshall hangs Christmas decorations on the house in the ‘burbs with help from his neighbor.” But still unsatisfied, I hopped on the phone yesterday with HIMYM executive producer Carter Bays, who talked about the next episode. (To read part of our chat, click here.)

What I left out about the Dec. 5 episode, however, is something that truly sent chills of anticipation down my spine: While Bays said he believes it’s “one of the best episodes we’ve ever done,” he also expressed a little apprehension, saying he hopes viewers will see it the same way. “You know, honestly, I hope people stay on board after the next episode,” he tells me. “I think there’s some incredible acting in it, and it’s a really nicely told story that we’re very pleased with. But… this Barney and Robin stuff is a third rail for our show in a good way. It’s nice to get a little jolt every now and then, but it is so divisive among fans from what I’ve gathered. So hopefully people will enjoy the story for what it is. But yeah, we’re nervous about where the story goes. Excited, and very proud of it, but I hope people stay on board. I think they will.” READ FULL STORY

'Big Bang Theory': Former 'Comeback' actor set to play Leonard's [SPOILER] -- EXCLUSIVE

The gang on The Big Bang Theory have made no secret that their geeky ways made them easy targets with their school peers, but in an upcoming episode, one of the guys is going to come face-to-face with his past.

EW has learned exclusively that Lance Barber, perhaps best-known for starring alongside Lisa Kudrow in HBO’s The Comeback, will guest star in an upcoming episode as Leonard’s old high school bully. The actor is set to appear in episode 11.

Barbers other credits include appearances on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Justified, and United States of Tara.

Follow Sandra on Twitter: @EWSandraG

Read more:
‘The Big Bang Theory’ recap: The Birds and the Totally Platonic Bees

Game 6 attacks Thursday: 'Community,' 'Parks,' 'Office' hit lows

At least Prime Suspect has an excuse this week.

Fox’s coverage of Game 6 of the World Series crushed most of the competition Thursday night, hitting NBC’s lineup particularly hard. Game 6 delivered an overnight household rating of 13.8 — the highest yet for this championship. Once again, female-skewing ABC not only didn’t drop, but managed a slight gain; plus there was good news for The CW’s Vampire Diaries.

CBS came in second with Big Bang Theory (14.3 million, 4.5), down 12 percent, and Rules of Engagement (10.8 million, 3.4), off 6 percent. Person of Interest (11.5 million, 2.6) only lost a tenth and The Mentalist (12.2 million, 2.5) was steady.

ABC’s annual repeat of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (7.4 million, 2.3) doubled the performance of the last weeks of Charlie’s Angels in the spot. Then Grey’s Anatomy (9.8 million, 3.7) and Private Practice (6.6 million, 2.4) were up slightly.

NBC, however, was hit hard: READ FULL STORY

'Big Bang Theory' star Kaley Cuoco to host People's Choice Awards

On top of an already stellar year, Kaley Cuoco will be kicking off 2012 with a Big Bang indeed. After getting engaged, presenting at the Emmys, and hosting the Teen Choice Awards in 2011, EW has confirmed that Cuoco has been tapped to host the People’s Choice Awards next January. Cuoco follows in the footsteps of five-year host Queen Latifah. “Kaley is sexy, funny and smart – everything you want in a host,” said Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President of Specials, Music and Live Events for CBS (home to Bang and the People’s Choice Awards). Bang will defend its title as Favorite TV Comedy when the ceremony, produced by Survivor EP Mark Burnett, airs on Jan. 11, 2012.

Read more:
‘Big Bang Theory’ star Kaley Cuoco engaged
Teen Choice Awards to make a ‘Big Bang’ with host Kaley Cuoco
Emmy presenters: Lea Michele, Ian Somerhalder, Kaley Cuoco in second wave — EXCLUSIVE

'Big Bang Theory': Leonard as Lion-O from 'ThunderCats'? -- FIRST LOOK

ThunderGeeks, hooooo! On tonight’s episode of The Big Bang Theory (on CBS at 8 p.m.), Leonard (Johnny Galecki) meets the holy grail of heterosexual male geekdom: A girl who loves comic books. He even meets Alice (Courtney Ford, True Blood) while shopping for comics, and the two bond so well over their respective collections, Leonard shows off one of his prize possessions: A drawing of Leonard as Lion-O from the animated series ThunderCats by DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee. Naturally, the fine folks at Big Bang actually got the real Jim Lee to do the drawing. Wanna see it? Of course you do:  READ FULL STORY

'Charlie's Angels' loses flight; 'How to Be a Gentleman' struggles

The competition took a beating Thursday because of The X Factor, which gave FOX a win in adults 18-49 (3.9 rating/10 share) and another chance to boast about its domination (like, how its the first time ever that Fox has won the first two Thursdays of the season). The two-hour show averaged 11.9 million, according to early results.

Charlie’s Angels took a direct hit on ABC — earning a mere 1.5/4, which was down 29 percent versus last week. It averaged 7.1 million. Grey’s Anatomy suffered but not too terribly; it earned a 3.5/9 (10 million) but was still down 15 percent. Most of the damage was heaped upon Kate Walsh and the return of Private Practice, which earned a 2.8/8 (and 7.8 million) and logged its lowest-rated premiere ever. READ FULL STORY

Thursday ratings: 'Charlie's Angels' modest, 'X Factor' steady

Premiere explosion Thursday unveiled 10 season debuts, plus several crucial second episodes of the fall. Some initial first-glance key results: ABC’s Charlie’s Angels opened modestly with 8.7 million viewers and a 2.1 adults 18-49 rating, the second night of Fox’s The X Factor held nearly steady with 12.5 million viewers and a 4.3 rating, and NBC’s Prime Suspect disappointed with 6 million and 1.8.

Let’s go network by network and break this down. Fox won the night with X Factor (the first time its won a premiere week Thursday in the network’s history, in fact), off by only a tenth of a point from Wednesday night rating. Showing this strong retention for the second episode is definitely good news for Fox and Simon Cowell.

On CBS, a one-hour Big Bang Theory (14.4 million, 4.9) was stable with last fall’s premiere and also won the night. The premiere of J.J. Abrams’ new thriller Person of Interest (13.2 million, 3.1) had a solid number, but was down 9 percent from the debut of CSI in the time period last year. At 10 p.m., the return of The Mentalist (13.3 million, 2.8) was off 18 percent from last fall, despite its Red John finale cliffhanger. READ FULL STORY

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