"American Idol" tops Thursday night ratings

Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:35pm EST
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By Marisa Guthrie

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The "American Idol" ratings-watch continues. And after a 5% week-to-week drop in the 18-49 demographic for Wednesday's installment, last night's episode showed less erosion - down 3% in the demo and total viewers compared to its first Thursday installment on January 20.

"Idol" averaged a 7.6 rating with 22.2 million viewers from 8-9 p.m., more than enough to power U.S. network Fox to a win on Thursday. Meanwhile, the "Idol" bump propelled Bones (3.9, 12.1 million) to its highest-rated telecast in more than four years.

With new episodes of its all-comedy Thursday, NBC was second for the night (2.5, 5.1 million viewers), despite the fact that almost all of its sitcoms showed week-to-week declines. "The Office" (4.0, 7.9 million), which featured a guest turn by Ricky Gervais, was down 11%. And while "30 Rock" (2.2, 4.5 million) easily prevailed at 10 p.m. -- against reruns of CBS' "The Mentalist" and ABC's "Private Practice" — it was down 19%. Only "Outsourced" (1.9, 4.1 million) showed improvement, up 6% compared to last week's season low.

With most of its Thursday line-up in reruns, CBS was third for the night (2.1, 9.6 million). Only 8:30 p.m. comedy "$#*! My Dad Says" was new, and without an original "Big Bang Theory" to lead into it, "$#*! My Dad Says" sunk to a 2.3 with 8.8 million viewers overall for a series low.

ABC (1.6, 5.1 million) was also mostly in reruns, though a new episode of "Wipeout" (2.4, 7.0 million) at 8 p.m. was enough for a second place finish from 8-9 p.m.

The CW had new episodes of "Vampire Diaries" and "Nikita" averaging 3 million viewers from 8-10 p.m., for its most-watched Thursday since last November. "Vampire Diaries" averaged a 1.4 rating in the net's target demo of 18-34-year-olds. And Nikita had its best rating in the younger demo (1.0) since last October.

(Editing by Zorianna Kit)