UPDATED: Bob Newhart brought his deadpan brilliance to "The Big Bang Theory," and wonderful things happened Thursday night.
Newhart as Professor Proton had memorable exchanges with an awestruck Sheldon (Jim Parsons), an oblivious Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and a puppet who brought back painful memories.
There was no pain about the ratings, though. "The Big Bang Theory" was the most-watched show locally and nationally for the night.
"Big Bang" drew 16.3 million viewers and put CBS on top for the night in total viewers and young adults. The updated prime-time averages: CBS with 12.3 million viewers, Fox with 8.2 million, ABC with 6.9 million, NBC with 3 million and The CW with 1.7 million.
But the ABC dramas were more popular with young adults. "Grey's Anatomy" had 8.9 million total viewers, and "Scandal" drew 8.1 million total viewers.
Fox's best showing came from "American Idol" with 11.3 million fans, followed by "Glee" with 5.2 million. NBC's standout was a one-hour "Office" with 3.5 million viewers. "The Vampire Diaries" brought 2.2 million fans to The CW.
In Central Florida, "The Big Bang Theory" drew 273,600 viewers. The CBS sitcom was also tops in the 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 age groups.
No. 2 in total viewers was "Two and a Half Men" with 207,500 viewers.
"American Idol" ranked third with 197,500 viewers. The singing contest dropped Amber Holcomb to reduce the field to the final three.
The top programs in the 18-to-49 age group were "The Big Bang Theory," "Two and a Half Men," "Grey's Anatomy" and "American Idol."