Fast National ratings for Thursday, January 12, 2012.
A huge 2012 premiere for "The Big Bang Theory" and a better-than-expected series launch for "Rob" helped carry CBS to easy wins on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, NBC got a disappointing season premiere for "30 Rock" and an even-more-dismal time slot premiere for "The Firm," which probably isn't long for this world. Also in instant trouble is FOX's "Bones" semi-spinoff "The Finder," which failed to find an audience in its first entry.
Among adults 18-49, CBS averaged a 3.5 rating for the night, topping ABC's 2.8 rating in the key demographic. FOX was third with a 2.0 rating, followed by NBC's 1.8 rating and The CW's 1.0 key demo rating.
Overall, CBS averaged an estimated 14.28 million viewers and an 8.6 rating/13 share for Thursday night. ABC was second with a 5.1/8 and 8.14 million viewers, holding off FOX's 4.3/7 and 7.04 million viewers. There was a big drop to fourth place NBC's 4.55 million and 2.9/5, far ahead of The CW's 1.5/2 and 2.43 million viewers.
8 p.m. - "The Big Bang Theory" (15.93 million and a 5.2 key demo) and the series premiere of "Rob" (13.48 million and a 4.1 key demo rating) gave CBS plenty of reasons to smile in the 8 p.m. hour. FOX was a distant second with 8.63 million viewers and a 2.4 rating among adults 18-49 for a new "Bones." ABC's "Wipeout" was third with 7.125 million viewers and a 2.2 key demo rating. On NBC, "30 Rock" returned from a long absence with 4.57 million viewers and a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 and led into 4.1 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo rating for "Parks & Recreation." The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" averaged 2.81 million viewers and a 1.2 key demo rating, both down from last week.
9 p.m. - CBS had a strong week for "Person of Interest," which averaged 14.73 million viewers to win the 9 p.m. hour, coming in second with a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49. ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" slipped from last week's return with 10.59 million viewers and an hour-winning 3.8 key demo rating. FOX's "The Finder" averaged 5.45 million viewers and a 1.7 key demo rating, which probably won't make the network pleased. NBC's "The Office" (5.865 million and a 2.9 key rating) and "Up All Night" (4.28 million viewers and a 2.0 key demo) were third in the demo, but fourth overall. Despite a drop for its lead-in, "The Secret Circle" was steady from last week with 2.055 million viewers and a 0.8 key demo rating. 
10 p.m. - "The Mentalist" ruled the 10 p.m. hour with 13.395 million viewers and a 2.7 rating among adults 18-49. ABC's "Private Practice" averaged 6.7 million viewers and a 2.4 key demo for second. NBC got a less-than-"Prime Suspect" 4.24 million viewers and a 1.0 key demo rating for "The Firm." 
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.