Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 1:30 PM: With final Live+Same Day numbers in, several series got a .1 demo rating boost from DVR viewing: CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (now 4.9/16 among 18-49) and The Mentalist (3.4/10), and NBC’s The Office (4.4/12) and Outsourced (3.6/10). Meanwhile, ABC’s Private Practice went down .1 to a 3.2/9, so now The Mentalist is winning the 10 PM hour by a comfortable margin after being tied with Practice in the fast nationals.

9:30 AM: The biggest scheduling gamble this fall has paid off: The Big Bang Theory kicked-off its Thursday run, well, with a big bang. Of the newbies, CBS’ $#*! My Dad Says and NBC’s Outsourced did solid business, while ABC’s new documentary-style drama My Generation was pretty much D.O.A. Besides The Office, all returning series were down year-to-year led by veteran Thursday anchors CSI and Grey’s Anatomy, which continued their ratings erosion with second consecutive year-to-year double-digit ratings drop in premiere week. The Apprentice continued to flatline, while NBC’s comedy block wasn’t bang-ed up too much (get it?) by the new comedy competition. Here is a network-by-network rundown:

The fourth season premiere of The Big Bang Theory scored a 4.8/15 among adults 18-49 and 14 million viewers. That was up 4% in the demo from the series’ premiere behind Two and a Half Men on Monday last fall and a whooping 37% in the demo from the season premiere of Survivor in the Thursday slot a week earlier last year. $#*! My Dad Says (3.9/12, 12.5 million) held onto solid 81% of Big Bang‘s demo lead-in, and the two comedies dominated the 8 PM hour in both adults 18-49 and viewers. At 9 PM, CSI (3.4/9, 14.7 million) didn’t get much of a boost from the guest stint of pop star Justin Bieber, down 17% in 18-49 from last year’s season premiere. It finished third in the hour among adults 18-49, while edging Grey’s Anatomy for the top spot in total viewers. At 10 PM, The Mentalist (3.3/10) was down 9%. CBS won the night in both adults 18-49 (3.7/11) and viewers (14.4 million).

OK, My Generation. Whether it was the hard-to-follow plot with multiple storylines or the confusing marketing or the time slot, but ABC’s new drama managed only a 1.6/5 in its premiere at 8 PM, tied for fourth place in the hour with the CW’s Vampire Diaries. Vs. last year’s premiere of FlashForward, My Generation was down 61%. More bad news for ABC at 9 PM, where Grey’s Anatomy (5.3/14) was down 21% from last season’s premiere, and at 10 PM, where Private Practice (3.3/10) was down 28%. But unlike with My Generation, it wasn’t all bad for Grey’s and Practice as both still won their time slots in the demo, Grey’s by a wide margin to finish as Thursday’s top-rated premiere for a 5th straight year, and Practice tied with The Mentalist and posting its best 18-49 number in 8 months.

A guest appearance by Betty White might have helped in softening the blow for NBC’s sophomore Community, which faced Big Bang head-on. The NBC comedy drew a 2.2/7 in 18-49, up 10% from the premiere of SNL Weekend Update in the slot a week earlier last year and up 16% from its own time slot premiere at 8 PM last fall after a brief run at 9:30 but down 42% from its series premiere behind The Office. At 8:30 PM, 30 Rock (2.6/8) was up 24% from the season premiere of Parks & Recreation last year and off modest 13% from its season premiere last year behind The Office where it had two-times bigger lead-in. Maybe boosted by the publicity surrounding star Steve Carell’s pending exit, The Office (4.3/11) bucked the down trend for returning series on the night, up 5% from last season’s premiere. This was the highest-rated Office episode since the March 4 segment that featured the birth of Jim and Pam’s baby. New comedy Outsourced (3.5/9) at 9:30 PM was down 8% from the premiere of Community in the 9:30 slot last fall, but showed better retention than slot predecessor 30 Rock, 81% vs. 73%. The Apprentice (1.4/4) was down 7% from last week’s record-low premiere to log its lowest-rated telecast ever. A year ago, the now-defunct Jay Leno Show did a 1.7 in the hour. While viewers still flocked to watch celebrities getting fired in the past few cycles of The Apprentice, seeing ordinary people, who are also unemployed this season, getting the boot is proving rather unpopular.

Down night all-around: Bones (2.7/8) slipped 17% from its premiere a week earlier last year, while Fringe (2.1/6) was down 30% from the same week, the steepest year-to-year decline for any returning series. Comparisons to the same night last year (Week 2 for both series back then) are more favorable: Bones was down 4%, Fringe 9%.

Following its soft season premiere, Vampire Diaries is showing spunk. The sophomore series was up from last week across the board, including 20% in total viewers (3.6 million) and 12% in adults 18-34. Nikita (3.2 million) was flat in viewers but slipped a notch in the demos.

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