Ratings: ‘Hannibal’ Premieres Soft; ‘Big Bang Theory,’ CBS Top Night

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"Big Bang Theory" takes first place in key demo and total viewers

The premiere of NBC's much-anticipated "Hannibal" didn't give the network much reason to break out the celebratory fava beans, Chianti and liver Thursday night, while CBS's "Big Bang Theory" took the night's top ratings, helping to push the network to an overall win, according to preliminary numbers.

The premiere of "Hannibal" at 10 p.m. posted a 1.6 rating/4 share in the adults 18-49 demographic — down 20 percent from last March's mid-season premiere of the short-lived "Awake" in the time period — and had 4.3 million total viewers.

Also read: 'Hannibal' Review: The Lambs Have a Lot on Their Minds

The good news for NBC? "Hannibal" gave the network its top ratings with entertainment programming in the timeslot since March 2012, and the network's biggest overall audience in the timeslot since January.

CBS, whose Thursday night primetime slate returned after three weeks — took first place in the demo with a 3.1 rating/9 share and 13.3 million. "The Big Bang Theory" at 8 inched up to a 4.9/17 — the night's best performance in the demo — and was the night's most-watched program with 16.8 million total viewers. "Two and a Half Men" at 8:30 grew 12 percent for a 3.8/12 and had 13.6 million total viewers. "Person of Interest" at 9 ticked down to a season low of 2.7/8 and had 14.3 million total viewers, while "Elementary" the following hour dropped 9 percent to a series low of 2.1/6 with 10.4 million total viewers.

Fox took second place in ratings and total viewers with a 2.3/7 and 7.7 million. "American Idol" at 8 inched up from last Thursday's series low, posting a 2.8/9 and taking 11.3 million total viewers, also a slight improvement over last Thursday. "New Girl" at 9 dipped to a 2.0/6 but climbed 17 percent in total viewers with 4.9 million. "The Mindy Project" at 9:30 improved modestly in the demo with a 1.4/4, but jumped 40 percent in total viewers with 3.5 million.

ABC drew third place in ratings and total viewers with a 2.2/7 and 6.9 million. "Wife Swap" at 8 was down 14 percent from last week with a 1.2/4 with 4.1 million total viewers, while "Grey's Anatomy" the following hour dipped down to a 2.7/8 and had 8.4 million total viewers. "Scandal" at 10 inched up to a 2.7/8 and had 8.1 million total viewers.

Univision was fourth in ratings and total viewers with a 1.5/4 and 3.6 million.

NBC came in fifth in ratings and total viewers with a 1.4/4 and 3.3 million total viewers. Prior to the "Hannibal" premiere, "Community" at 8 slid 9 percent to a series low of 1.0/3 and had 2.4 million total viewers. "Parks and Recreation" at 8:30 inched down to a 1.5/4 and had 2.9 million total viewers, while "The Office" dropped 11 percent from its last original three weeks ago, hitting a series low of 1.7/5 with 3.4 million total viewers. "Go On" at 9:30 posted a 1.1/3 with 2.4 million total viewers.