was a big night for TV with the premieres of two acclaimed new comedies
starring Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox and the season premieres for
seven returning shows. And CBS, to no one's surprise, emerged as the
The Big Bang Theory
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kicked off the night with 19 million viewers, up more than 3 million from last year. The most popular comedy on TV then got even bigger with its second episode at 8:30pm, scoring 20.44 million viewers. That's the highest rating the show has ever had. It's been a good run for The Big Bang Theory
, as this is the fifth time in the past year the show has set a new record high for viewers.
That start helped launch the new comedy The Crazy Ones
starring Robin Williams with over 15.5 million viewers. That makes it the most-watched new show of the season and the biggest regular premiere in two years (not counting Go On
's post-Olympics launch).
By comparison, NBC's premiere of The Michael J. Fox Show
at 9pm seems small with 7.5 million viewers, but it's still a great number for the network. That's the highest Thursday night rating for NBC in two years and it more than doubled its lead-in, Parks and Recreation
Besides The Big Bang Theory
, the other six returning shows were all down from their premieres last season, but the biggest hit came for Glee
. With the Beatles and increased attention because of Cory Monteith's death, the show began season 5 with just 5.06 million viewers. That's down more than 2 million from a year ago, and it's actually the show's second-lowest rated episode ever. The lowest was "Dynamic Duets" last year, which aired on Thanksgiving.
Here's a look at the numbers for all of Thursday's new shows.8pm
18.99 million: The Big Bang Theory
6.47 million: The X Factor
4.68 million: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
3.27 million: Parks and Recreation8:30pm
20.44 million: The Big Bang Theory9pm
15.52 million: The Crazy Ones
9.27 million: Grey's Anatomy
7.5 million: The Michael J. Fox Show
5.06 million: Glee9:30pm
11.59 million: Two and a Half Men10pm
10.18 million: Elementary
5.06 million: Parenthood(Image courtesy of CBS)