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Ratings roundup: 'Big Bang Theory' opens big new Thursday comedy block for CBS

September 24, 2010 |  2:01 pm


The nerds have overcome.

CBS' gutsy decision to open the night with a sitcom block paid big dividends Thursday as "The Big Bang Theory" -- imported this season from its old Monday berth - rounded up 14 million total viewers (4.8 rating/15 share in adults aged 18 to 49), dominating its 8 p.m. time slot, according to the Nielsen Co. The show actually premiered a bit stronger than it did on Monday last year, which had to give heartburn to rivals anxiously watching whether the show could thrive after the move.

"Big Bang" in turn boosted the premiere of "$#*! My Dad Says," the new William Shatner comedy, which likewise won the 8:30 block with 12.5 million (3.9 rating/12 share), although it won't be clear for some weeks how audiences are responding to the series on its own merits.

The CBS comedy freight train left a layer of dust on everyone else. ABC's new youth drama "My Generation" bombed in its premiere, connecting with just 5.2 million viewers. NBC's rival comedy block was stymied; "Community" was held to just 5 million viewers and "30 Rock" suffered the worst opening in its five-year history (5.8 million). Neither show can count on much momentum in the days ahead if they remain where they are on the schedule.

But the news wasn't all sunshine for CBS. At 9 p.m., the erstwhile procedural powerhouse "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" continued its downward spiral, with 14.6 million viewers for the 11th season premiere, barely beating the likewise eroding "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC (14 million). That took some of the heat off NBC, which saw the premiere of "The Office" (8.4 million viewers) rise 12% in the 18-49 demographic (to a 4.3 rating/11 share). The strong lead-in plus "CSI's" skew toward older viewers enabled NBC's new workplace comedy "Outsourced" to pull out a second-place finish in 18-49 (3.5 rating/9 share; 7.4 million viewers overall).

At 10 p.m., CBS' "The Mentalist" dominated the slot (15.3 million), although its audience continued to skew older than competitors' programs. Meanwhile, NBC's "The Apprentice" skulked away with a lame 3.8 million viewers. 

-- Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Kaley Cuoco and Jim Parsons in "The Big Bang Theory" Credit Sonja Flemming/CBS