So many TV premieres last night, so many questions.
Was Simon Cowell's The X Factor built to last? Would The Office open without its old boss? Could The Big Bang Theory teach Two and a Half Men a lesson? And, Charlie's Angels anyone?
A rundown of Thursday's key ratings results:
ATTENTION, ASHTON KUTCHER
• The Big Bang Theory (14.4 million viewers for back-to-back episodes, per estimates): Once Two and a Half Men madness subsides, this is the sort of "normal" huge number the new-look, Charlie Sheen-free sitcom will be going for, if not hard-pressed to equal.
SIMON COWELL WILL BE ALL RIGHT
• The X Factor (12.1 million viewers): If its Thursday debut was the big test, then it passed. The talent show basically matched its Wednesday audience, and, demographically speaking, ruled the jam-packed 9 p.m. hour.
SO FAR, NOT BAD
• Person of Interest (13.2 million viewers): On one hand, it was the night's most-watched, top-rated freshman premiere. On the other hand, it wasn't as big in the 9 p.m. time slot as an aged CSI was for CBS last fall. The returning The Mentalist (13.4 million) slipped at 10 p.m., too.
• Charlie's Angels (8.7 million viewers) and Prime Suspect (6 million viewers): Neither had smash numbers, especially among 18-to-49-year-olds, but compared to what their respective networks had at their disposal last year (My Generation for ABC; the celebrity-free Apprentice for NBC), these newcomers were smashes. For one night, at least.
THE STEVE CARELL-LESS FACTOR?
• NBC's comedy lineup: Everything was down from last fall, including, despite Joel McHale's best Tweeting efforts, Community (4 million). At 8:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation (4.1 million) was no 30 Rock, or its own self from last winter. Newbie Whitney (6.7 million) put up solid numbers, that, on the downside, were vaguely reminiscent of what the canceled Outsourced put up at 9:30 p.m. last year. All things considered, the start of the Andy Bernard era on The Office (7.6 million) was a good one. The comedy didn't collapse, and competed at 9 p.m. against The X Factor and Grey's Anatomy.
SPEAKING OF A CERTAIN LONG-RUNNING MEDICAL DRAMA…
• Grey's Anatomy (10.3 million viewers): Now eight seasons old, it was down 4 million from last fall, but, like The Office, remained in the game. It even won the 10 p.m. hour among 18-to-49-year-olds.