'Bones,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'The Big Bang Theory': Thursday night ratings fight
As we've done all this week, we offer up some thoughts on how the ratings skirmish might shake out.
The heavyweights (old-school division): "CSI" and "Grey's Anatomy" have been battling for several years now; last season CBS' crime drama drew more total viewers (15.7 million to 13.8 million for "Grey's"), while "Grey's" was a pretty decisive winner among adults 18-49 (5.3 rating to 3.9 for "CSI"; all numbers in this post are live-plus-7 ratings through the end of last season). Neither one, however, was the night's most-watched show overall; that title shifted to "The Mentalist," which averaged 16.8 million people. All three should continue to lead their time periods -- there's just not a ton of competition -- but "CSI" and "Grey's," which are entering their 11th and seventh seasons, are probably on the downslope of the ratings curve.
The heavyweight (new-school division): "Big Bang" had a breakout season last year (14.3 million viewers per week and a 5.4 in adults 18-49), so much so that CBS felt comfortable asking it to lead off a night. Given it's 8 o'clock competition ("Bones," "Community," "My Generation" and "The Vampire Diaries"), there's no reason to think it won't lead its half-hour by a comfortable margin. We're curious, though, to see whether all the viewers "BBT" had last season follow it to the new timeslot.
The veterans: "Bones" fans are among the most loyal in television, so despite much hand-wringing about Booth's new lady friend, the show should continue to pull in solid ratings. "Private Practice" does reasonably well for ABC at 10 p.m., and the first three-quarters of NBC's comedy block ( "Community," "30 Rock" and "The Office") will probably hold the line as well -- which is to say that "The Office" will likely still be a top-20 show among adults 18-49 and "Community" and "30 Rock" will continue to serve their niches.
The newbies: Two of the worst-reviewed new comedies of the fall -- CBS' "S#*! My Dad Says" and NBC's "Outsourced" -- call Thursday night home. The novelty of the former's title and star William Shatner could be a draw at first, but we suspect good-sized dips for both networks when they're on (8:30 ET for "$#*!" and 9:30 for "Outsourced"). "Nikita" has performed well so far for The CW, actually building on its "Vampire Diaries" lead-in. And your guess is as good as ours as to how ABC's mockudrama "My Generation" will do at 8.
The wildcard: See above for "My Generation." Gut instinct says it will probably pull a modest rating, but we wouldn't be shocked if it did really well or really poorly.
The DVR factor: Thursday was probably the most DVR'd night on the schedule last season, and we expect that to continue. "Fringe" was one of the most-recorded shows on TV last season in terms of percentage of viewers gained (31 percent in total audience and 39 percent in adults 18-49). Meanwhile "Grey's Anatomy," "The Mentalist" and "CSI" were all among the top 10 in the number of viewers added.
How are you approaching your Thursday night viewing?