UPDATE: The finals Live+same day are in, and the 8:30 PM episode of The Big Bang Theory went up to 20.44 million viewers, an all-time high for the series. Its demo numbers also were adjusted up, to a 6.1 in 18-49 (for the 8:30-9 PM half hour).
PREVIOUS: It may have lost out on the best comedy Emmy on Sunday, but last night The Big Bang Theory proved it is the biggest entertainment show on broadcast television and, in Season 7, shows no signs of slowing down. The hourlong season premiere of the comedy juggernaut was its biggest ever, drawing a 5.6 rating in adults 18-49 — up 17% from its 18-49 fast national last year when the opener was a half-hour — and 18.3 million viewers. CBS doubled up on its flagship comedy to boost newbie The Crazy Ones, and it worked. The series starring Robin Williams drew a 4.0 in 18-49 and 15.6 million viewers to rank as the most watched series premiere so far this season and deliver CBS’ best 18-49 rating in the half-hour in almost four years (11/12/09, CSI). The Crazy Ones also handily won the hyped Robin Williams vs. Michael J. Fox face-off (4.0 vs. 2.1, 18/3 million vs. 7.2 million). CBS achieved its goal of expanding its Thursday comedy block to two hours with one caveat: veteran Two And A Half Men (2.9, 11.5 million) performed below par, down 17% from last season’s debut as the show established its new dynamic last night by introducing Charlie Harper’s long–lost daughter. The 11th season premiere was the lowest rated ever for the comedy, though it maybe a bit early to sound the cancellation alarm as familiar shows, especially comedies, tend to draw back viewers once the sampling of new shows is over. At 10 PM, Elementary‘s trip to London for the second season premiere resulted in a 2.1 18-49 rating, down a big 32% from the series premiere last year, which faced Scandal instead of Grey’s Anatomy.
Related: Chuck Lorre’s ‘Big Bang’ Emmy Speech
Like last fall, NBC’s Sunday-Wednesday streak of strong numbers came to a screeching halt on Thursday. The hourlong debut of The Michael J. Fox Show (2.1/6) was the highest rated program on the network but a distant third in the 9 PM half-hour and ranked as the lowest rated Thursday fall comedy premiere on NBC ever. Michael J Fox didn’t get any lead-in help as the hourlong season premiere of NBC’s only returning comedy this fall, Parks And Recreation, managed a 1.3, down 24% from last year for the comedy’s lowest rated premiere ever and a series low (tie). Also tying its series low and posting its weakest premiere ever was transplant Parenthood (1.6) at 10 PM, which was down 16% from its debut last fall in its previous Tuesday 10 PM slot against lesser competition.
Fox’s The X Factor (2.0) held up well against premiere week competition for a second consecutive night, up a tenth from its fast national last Thursday. But, despite the wave of publicity surrounding star Cory Monteith’s death, Glee (2.0/5) was down a steep 35% from last fall’s opener. (Its Monteith tribute episode airs in 2 weeks.)
Following a repeat of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere, the two-hour season opener of Grey’s Anatomy (3.4/9) was down 23% from last fall’s one-hour premiere and marked the venerable medical drama’s lowest-rated debut.