In the spring of 2008, then-perennial bubble CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother got Britney Spears as a guest star. The episode shot up to series highs and fostered a turnaround for the show, which turned from an underperforming darling to a hit almost overnight. Four and a half years later, CBS this fall made a scheduling move that raised a lot of eyebrows: relocating long-time Monday anchor Two And A Half Men to Thursday. The veteran has struggled in its new environment, even falling below the delivery of utility player Rules Of Engagement in the slot at one point. Until last night, when the show featured another big teen draw: Miley Cyrus. With her, Two And A Half Men jumped 14% from last week to a 4.0/11 among adults 18-49, hitting season highs in adults 18-49, total viewers (13.6 million) and adults 25-54. Two And A Half Men already received a second lease on life with the introduction of new leading man Ashton Kutcher last season. Could Cyrus’ appearance be a “Britney” moment for the veteran comedy that would give it new momentum and help it age more gracefully in its new Thursday slot? The good news for Men is that Cyrus has already been booked for another episode, and given the ratings, she may be asked to do more. Unlike Spears, Cyrus is a sitcom pro, having started off on the Disney Channel hit Hannah Montana.
Even with the 0.5 rating bump, Men couldn’t come close to its lead-in, The Big Bang Theory (4.7/5), which was up a tenth from last week and topped Thursday night in 18-49 and total viewers (15.4 million). Big Bang and Men‘s ratings gains did not carry over to 9 PM, where Person Of Interest (2.8/7), was down 7% from its last original two weeks ago. (The 9-11 programming on the Big 4 was pre-empted for the Vice Presidential debate last Thursday.) Elementary (2.3/6) was down too, by 8%.
ABC’s freshman drama Last Resort (1.7/5) saw a small uptick from last week, +6%, but its ratings were likely inflated by an 8-9 PM football pre-emption in the San Francisco market. Grey’s Anatomy (3.3/9) was down 13% from two weeks ago, while Scandal (2.0/5) was flat.
Over at NBC, Up All Night (1.4/4) showed some spunk, up 27% from last week. Its lead-in 30 Rock (1.3/4) was flat, while the rest of the NBC lineup was down — The Office (2.0/6, down 9% from two weeks ago and a series low), Parks And Recreation (1.6/4, down 16% and tied as series low) and Rock Center With Brian Williams (0.9/3, down 10%). Fox carried baseball playoffs.
On the CW, The Vampire Diaries (1.2/4 in 18-49, 1.3/4 in 18-34, 2.7 million) was down 25% in the 18-49 demo from its solid season premiere last week. News was worse for freshman Beauty And The Beast (0.7/2, 0.8/2 in 18-34 2 million), which tumbled 42% in 18-49 from its debut.