Fox’s American Idol continued to keep the pace from premiere week last night, while Bones rose to its best showing in 4 years. But, after a stronger than expected debut last week, NBC’s 3-hour comedy block is starting to show cracks.

Just like it did on Tuesday, American Idol held nicely to its premiere week numbers. Last night, the hourlong show from 8-9 PM drew a 7.6/21 in adults 18-49 and 22.3 million total viewers, down only 3% from last Thursday. Helping things was the fact that Idol‘s biggest competition in the 8 PM hour, CBS’ hit comedy The Big Bang Theory (2.4/7), was a repeat last night vs. an original last week, as was the rest of the CBS lineup except for freshman comedy $#*! My Dad Says (2.3/6), which needs to use up its fresh episodes before it hands off the 8:30 PM slot to Rules of Engagement next month. Against Idol, $#*! dropped 18% in the demo from last week after earlier this month logging matching week-to-week performances behind an original an repeat Big Bang. Also taking a ratings hit in the 8 PM hour was ABC’s reality series Winter Wipeout (2.4/7), down 8% last night, following a 28% drop in its first face-off against Idol last week. Like CBS, ABC aired repeats for the rest of the night.

Fox’s Bones is beginning to settle into its new Thursday 9 PM slot behind Idol. Last night, it drew a 3.9/10 in 18-49, up 11% from last week for a 4-year high. It improved its Idol retention to 51%, up from 46% last week. The next test for the Fox dramedy will come when it faces an all-original competition, especially the similarly skewing Grey’s Anatomy. It goes without saying that Fox (5.8/15, 17.2 million) won last night by a mile.

NBC’s comedy block started off great, with Community (2.2/6) holding steady from last week and tying its best non-Halloween demo result this season. But the rest of the night didn’t go so well. In its second Thursday airing, new comedy Perfect Couples (1.7/4) was down 19%. The drop may have hurt The Office (4.0/11), which was surprisingly down from last week, by 11%, despite featuring the much hyped appearance by the star of the original Office Ricky Gervais. Parks & Recreation (3.0/8) held up relatively well, down 6%, half of the decline of its lead-in. But the 10 PM comedy block is not looking good. Against all-rerun competition vs. an original Mentalist last week, 30 Rock (2.2/6) was down 19% from last week, while Outsourced (1.9/6) climbed a tenth. Things will not be pretty when both The Mentalist and Private Practice return to originals next week. This is not a problem for 30 Rock, which has already been renewed for next season but it is a major one for Outsourced. As the only major network besides Fox to air all-fresh programming last night, NBC (2.5/7, 5.2 million) was No.2 in 18-49, while CBS (2.1/6, 9.6 million) was second in total viewers.

Patrick
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4 years
NBC did very well when it scheduled 3 of its veteran shows followed by a new comedy....
Pat
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4 years
Hopefully the new regime will give "The Paul Reiser Show" an air date! I've heard it's hilarious...
Don
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4 years
Last but NOT LEAST... Comedy CAN work at 10pm... Case In Point, Jersey Shore !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The CW’s Thursday lineup made its return last night, but its fast nationals might be inflated a bit by pre-emptions. The Vampire Diaries (3.5 million, 1.8/5 in 18-34) was up 10% in viewers from its last original broadcast on Dec. 9 and had its best demo delivery since early November. Nikita (2.7 million, 1.0/3 in 18-34) posted its best numbers since October.