CBS and ABC were the standout networks on the second Thursday of the season, with the Eye's new four-comedy block looking pretty good despite expected declines for Robin Williams rookie "The Crazy Ones." The Alphabet, meanwhile, closed strong, with "Scandal" hitting series highs in its return.
The Eye edged past the Alphabet in adults 18-49 while also winning in both adults 25-54 and total viewers.
NBC doing passably with Sean Hayes starrer "Sean Saves the World," which built on its lead-in, fellow newcomer "Welcome to the Family." And behind "Sean," "The Michael J. Fox Show" held about 85% of its week-ago premiere and built on its new schedule companion.
CBS' "The Millers" had a solid bow behind "The Big Bang Theory," sweeping its half-hour in key categories and standing as the season's No. 2 new comedy premiere (behind "Crazy Ones"). And over at CW, "The Vampire Diaries" spinoff "The Originals" looked pretty good in its special premiere before relocating to Tuesday.
It's worth noting that Thursday was a busy night for sports action on cable, with pro and college football games going up against postseason baseball action. This may result in more DVR playback than usual, especially among men.
"The Big Bang Theory" remained the night's dominant show, leading off for CBS with a big 5.0 rating/16 share in adults 18-49 and 17.8 million viewers overall. That provided a hefty lead-in for "The Millers" (3.3/10 in 18-49, 13.2 million viewers overall), which won its timeslot.
CBS won the comedy battle from 9 to 10 p.m., with "The Crazy Ones" (2.9/8 in 18-49, 11.8 million viewers overall) dropping about 25% from its premiere (when it followed "The Big Bang Theory") but easily able to best "Sean Saves the World" (1.6/4 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall).
And at 9:30 p.m., "Two and a Half Men" (2.4/7 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) won over week two of "The Michael J. Fox Show" (1.9/5 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall), which was off 15% from its premiere. "MJF" built on "Sean Saves the World" by 19% in 18-49 and added 1 million total viewers.
At ABC, "Scandal" surged to a 3.6/10 in 18-49 and 10.5 million viewers overall, besting its previous demo high (3.2), set with its final two episodes of last season. It was also up a big 76% over its year-ago, second-season premiere (2.1).
"Scandal" built nicely on its lead-in from "Grey's Anatomy" (3.0/8 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall), which was down about 10% from its season premiere of last week but led its hour in 18-49 and was a close second to CBS in 25-54.
Fox's "The X Factor" (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.0 million viewers overall) was in line with last week in the demo and up a bit in total viewers, while "Glee" (1.6/5 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall) was down 20% from last week. "Glee" next week presents its Corey Monteith tribute with an episode that deals with the death of his character, Finn.
At CW, "The Vampire Diaries" came in cooler than last year (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall). It was followed by "The Originals" (0.9/3 in 18-49, 2.1 million viewers overall), which was below last year's "Beauty and the Beast" premiere but retained more of its lead-in. In adults 18-34, "Vampire" opened with a 1.3, and "Originals" followed with a 0.9.
Overall, this was CW's best Thursday in women 18-34 and total viewers since last November.
Elsewhere, NBC remains soft opening Thursday nights with "Parks and Recreation" (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), which is drawing about one-fourth the demo rating of "The Big Bang Theory." And at 8:30, "Welcome to the Family" posted similar numbers (1.2/4 in 18-49, 3.3 million viewers overall), coming in with what's believed to be the net's lowest-ever comedy premiere scores. Closing the night, "Parenthood" (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) was on par with its week-ago premiere.
(Note that due to a preemption for Browns football in Cleveland, NBC's numbers could be adjusted downward a bit in the nationals.)
And opposite the big "Scandal" premiere on CBS, "Elementary" (2.0/6 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall) nearly matched last week's score. The Sherlock Holmes drama was one of the notable gainers in DVR playback during premiere week.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 2.9/9; ABC, 2.8/8; Fox, 1.8/5; NBC, 1.6/5; Univision, 1.3/4; CW, 1.0/3; Telemundo, 0.4/1.
In total viewers: CBS, 11.7 million; ABC, 8.5 million; Fox, 5.8 million; NBC, 4.5 million; Univision, 3.5 million; CW, 2.3 million; Telemundo, 1.1 million.