CBS’ The Big Bang Theory held its own in the tentpole 9 PM position. With regular 9 PM dweller Two And a Half Men short on originals because of the unplanned hiatus over star Charlie Sheen’s stint in rehab and with its future still uncertain over contract negotiations with Sheen, CBS tried out hot third-year comedy Big Bang with an original at 9 PM, followed by a repeat at 9:30 PM. The Big Bang original drew a 4.5 rating/12 share among adults 18-49 and 11.5 million viewers overall. That was down from the 5.0/13 demo number Big Bang scored behind Two and a Half Men the last time the comedies aired originals. It was also a tenth short of the 4.6/12 Men nabbed that night but nevertheless a promising tryout for Big Bang, which was the top-rated program of the night in the 18-49 demo.

News was not as good for NBC’s bubble dramedy Chuck and ABC’s new comedy Romantically Challenged. After a nice uptick last week, Chuck (1.9/6), facing an original How I Met Your Mother (3.1/9) on CBS this time, was down 10%. Similarly, Romantically Challenged (2.5/7) slipped 4% to its lower demo rating yet.

On the other side of a series lifecycle, Fox’s departing veteran drama 24 (2.9/8) was up from last week by the same amount, 4%, while the network’s hit drama House (3.8/11)at 8 PM was down 10%. Fox won the night in 18-49, while ABC was tops in total viewers thanks to Dancing With the Stars, which logged its lowest demo result (4.0/11) of the season.