(Updates with time-zone adjusted numbers from Fox.)
"The Big Bang Theory" claimed first and second place in Thursday's ratings as "The X Factor" held most of its premiere audience from the night before to edge out "Grey's Anatomy" for third, according to preliminary numbers.
Fox, which led the night overall, expected its ratings to climb slightly in later numbers. The return of NBC's "The Office," meanwhile, performed well but was down slightly, and boosted the new "Whitney." The premiere of CBS's "Person of Interest" did respectably but lost much of its "Big Bang" lead-in, while ABC's premiere of "Charlie's Angeles" posted so-so numbers.
CBS's premiere of "Big Bang" at 8 p.m. scored a 4.8/15 in the prized 18-49 demographic and 14.1 million total viewers. A second half hour at 8:30 scored a 5.0/14 and 14.6 million, making it the top-rated show of the night. The 8:30 and 8 shows were also the most watched and second-most-watched shows, respectively, in total viewers. At 9, "Person of Interest" had a 3.1/8 and 13.2 million total viewers. "The Mentalist" premiere at 10 had a 2.8/7 and 13.4 million.
In its second night, Fox's "X Factor" retained most of its premiere audience, scoring a 4.3/11 in the demo and 12.5 million total viewers from 8 to 10. The show retained 98 percent of its audience in the demo and all of the total viewers from its premiere.
Creator Simon Cowell has said he wants the show to surpass "American Idol," the top-rated show on television, which averages more than double the number of "X Factor" viewers so far. The show has failed to be the top-rated show in either of its first two episodes: Its premiere Wednesday was beaten by "Modern Family."
But "X Factor" did narrowly beat the premiere of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" for third place in the ratings Thursday. Airing from 9-11, "Grey's Anatomy" scored a 4.1/10 and 10.3 million total viewers. Its lead in, the premiere of "Charlie's Angels," was less impressive: It had a decent 2.1/6 in the demo and 8.7 million total viewers.
NBC, meanwhile, had its lowest-rated premieres ever for "Community" and "Parks and Recreation" and a soft debut for "Prime Suspect," all against intimidating competition. The return of "The Office," featuring the reveal of Michael Scott's replacement, and the premiere of "Whitney" fared better. But without Steve Carell, "The Office" was down 11 percent from last season's premiere and had its lowest-rated premiere since its first season.
"Community" at 8 had a 1.7/5 and 4 million total viewers. "Parks" at 8:30 had a 2.0/6 and 4.1 million. "The Office" at 9 had a 3.9/10 and 7.6 million, a strong showing that boosted "Whitney": It had a 3.2/8 and 6.7 million. "Prime Suspect" at 10 had a 1.8/5 and 6 million total viewers, the network's lowest-rated fall Thursday series debut.
CW's "The Vampire Diaries" had a 1.2/3 and 2.5 million viewers at 8; at 9, "The Secret Circle," in its second week, had a .9/2 and 2 million.