Big Bang Theory

'Big Bang Theory' sneaks by 'American Idol' in the ratings

Jan. 31, 2012 at 6:20 PM ET

Johnny Galecki as Leonard and Jim Parson as Sheldon on CBS' "Big Bang Theory."

Is reality juggernaut "American Idol" on the verge of losing its perch at the top of the Nielsen ratings? Maybe not quite yet, but it has some competition from CBS' "Big Bang Theory."

When the two shows went head to head for a half hour on Thursday night, "Big" geeks Sheldon and Leonard (played by Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki) attracted more eyeballs than the hopefuls on "Idol." According to the Nielsen numbers, the comedy had 16.13 million viewers compared to "Idol's" 15.56 million from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. As the Associated Press points out, this is believed to be the first time a scripted program has taken down the singing competition. (ABC's ballroom bash "Dancing With the Stars" has topped "Idol" in seasons 10 and 12.)

But it's early yet in the "Idol" season. The show is still in the auditions phase, so ratings will likely improve once the competition moves past Hollywood. And despite "Big Bang's" big win, "Idol" still placed in the No. 1 and 2 spots on the Nielsen's prime-time list last week.

Think this will be the year that "Idol" loses its ratings crown on at least a semi-regular basis? Share your predictions on our Facebook page.

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