Fast National ratings for Thursday, February 16, 2012.
Yet another two-hour "American Idol" helped FOX rule Thursday night in all key measures, but after a couple weeks of steady performance or even gains, the talent show took a big drop. Then again, it was another night on which nearly everything was down, especially in the "Idol"-impacted 9 p.m. hour.
Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 5.0 rating, way ahead of CBS' 3.3 rating in the key demographic. ABC was third with a 2.4 rating, followed by NBC's 1.4 rating and the 1.0 rating for The CW.
Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 16.495 million viewers to go with a 9.7 rating/15 share. CBS was second with an 8.1/13 and 13.355 million viewers. There was a big drop to ABC's 4.4/7 and 6.78 million viewers and another big drop to NBC's 2.0/3 and 3.08 million viewers. The drop to The CW's 1.5/2 and 2.31 million viewers wasn't nearly so big.
[On a strong night, driven by Premio Lo Nuestro 2012, Univision averaged 5.08 million viewers and a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49, comfortably beating both The CW and NBC.]
8 p.m. - "American Idol" drew 16.56 million viewers and a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49 to win the totality of the 8 p.m. hour. CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" (15.52 million and a 5.0 key demo rating) actually beat "Idol" overall and in the key demo for its half-hour, but "Rob" (10.905 million and a 3.2 key demo) did not, despite consistent retention. ABC's "Wipeout" averaged 5.13 million viewers for third overall and a 1.5 key demo rating for fourth. NBC was fourth overall and third in the demo with "30 Rock" (3.6 million and a 1.4 key demo) and "Parks and Recreation" (3.51 million and, up a hair, a 1.7 key demo). The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" averaged 2.855 million viewers and a 1.3 key demo rating.
9 p.m. - Unlike Wednesday, when the show's second hour took a big leap, "American Idol" averaged 16.425 million viewers and a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49 to win the 9 p.m. hour. "Idol" took a big bite out of CBS' "Person of Interest," which dropped to a still-strong 13.25 million viewers after consecutive weeks around 15 million, also falling to a 2.9 key demo rating in third. ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" also shed roughly 2 million viewers, drawing only 8.13 million viewers and finishing second with a 3.1 key demo rating. NBC's "The Office" (4.34 million and a 2.2 key demo) and "Up All Night" (3.01 million viewers and a 1.5 key demo) both suffered predictable declines. Oddly, "Idol" had no real impact on "The Secret Circle," which still drew 1.76 million viewers and a 0.8 key demo rating.

10 p.m. - CBS moved into first for the 10 p.m. hour with 13.61 million viewers and a 2.8 key demo rating for "The Mentalist." ABC's "Grey's Anatomy"-boosted "Private Practice" was up week-to-week with 7.09 million viewers and a 2.6 key demo rating. NBC's repeat of "Grimm" drew only 2.03 million viewers and a 0.7 key demo.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.