Fast National ratings for Thursday, August 18, 2011.
 
For the second consecutive week, coverage of the NFL preseason messed with Thursday night ratings. In the early returns, it appears that FOX's NFL preseason coverage topped CBS' "regular" programming, though CBS' programming was also impacted by NFL preseason action in some markets. Expect some hefty shifting once final numbers come in.
 
For now, FOX has averaged a 3.2 rating for the night among adults 18-49, easily tops in the key demographic. CBS was a distant second with a 2.0 rating, followed by ABC's 1.5 rating. NBC averaged a 0.8 rating for the night, at least staying in front of the 0.3 rating for The CW.
 
Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 8.88 million viewers for the night and a 5.4 rating/9 share. CBS was second with 6.95 million viewers and a 4.4/7. ABC's 3.1/5 and 5.3 million viewers finished third. For the night, NBC averaged a 1.7/3 and 2.51 million viewers, while The CW averaged a 0.7/1 and 1.02 million.
 
[For the night, Univision averaged 3.15 million viewers and a 1.3 rating among adults 18-49, fourth in both measures.]
 
8 p.m. - FOX started primetime in first with nearly 8.7 million viewers and a 3.2 rating among adults 18-49 for NFL preseason coverage. CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" and "Rules of Engagement" (and NFL preseason coverage) average d nearly 6.9 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo rating for second, edging out the 6.7 million viewers for ABC's "Wipeout." NBC's "Community" and "Parks & Recreation" episodes averaged 2 million viewers, topping the 1.12 million for The CW's "The Vampire Diaries."
 
9 p.m. - FOX stayed in first for the 9 p.m. hour with 9.06 million viewers and a 3.3 key demo rating for NFL preseason action. CBS' "Big Brother" and NFL averaged 7.97 million viewers and a 3.0 key demo rating. ABC's "Expedition Impossible" averaged 4.58 million viewers in third. NBC's "The Office" and "30 Rock" episodes averaged 2.48 million, while The CW's "Plain Jane" averaged 915,000 viewers.
 
10 p.m. - CBS closed primetime in first with 5.99 million viewers and a 1.2 key demo rating for "The Mentalist." ABC's "Rookie Blue" was on the low side with 4.625 million viewers and a 1.2 key demo rating. NBC was third with 3.05 million viewers for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
 
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change, particularly in the case of live events.