The Big Bang Theory The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory emerged victorious from the first hotly contested Thursday night of the fall TV season, leading CBS to a ratings win, according to overnight Nielsen estimates.

Big Bang, in its Thursday debut, drew 14 million viewers and improved over its Monday season premiere a year ago among the adults-18-to-49 demographic. The strong start also lifted freshman comedy S#*! My Dad Says (12.5 million viewers) to a solid debut and provided a healthy lead-in to CSI (14.6 million viewers) and The Mentalist (15.3 million viewers). However, the two procedurals were down in the demo 17 percent and 8 percent, respectively, versus a year ago.

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NBC's rival Thursday comedies suffered, as Community (5 million viewers) fell 42 percent from its freshman debut. (It did, however, premiere after The Office a year ago.) 30 Rock ( 5.8 million viewers), which also premiered post-Office last year, was down 13 percent in the demo. The Office (8.4 million viewers) was up slightly, providing a nice platform to new comedy Outsourced (7.4 million viewers).

NBC placed third overall behind ABC, which debuted documentary-style scripted drama My Generation to a disappointing 5.2 million viewers. The show tied with the CW in the demo during the 8/7c timeslot and was down 60 percent compared to FlashForward's debut last year. The Alphabet bounced back with the premieres of Grey's Anatomy (14 million viewers) and Private Practice (9 million viewers). Though Grey's was the highest-rated program of the night in the demo, both shows were down more than 20 percent from their debuts the previous year.

Fox took fourth place, as Bones (9.8 million viewers) dropped 13 percent in the demo and Fringe (5.8 million viewers) was down a whopping 30 percent

The CW's The Vampire Diaries (3.6 million viewers) was the only show to gain ground in the demo. Its lead-out, Nikita (3.2 million) slipped just a bit versus last week.