CBS; Fox
James Hibberd
January 27, 2012 AT 12:00 PM EST

It’s on: Fox’s American Idol and CBS’ Big Bang Theory battled for Thursday ratings supremacy, with each coming away with claims for the crown.

Idol drew 17 million viewers and a 5.4 rating. That’s down just a few notches from last week. This is a bit of a relief for Fox since it’s less of a drop than Wednesday’s edition, so it suggests the reality hit’s declines could be slowing down. Still, this is the lowest-rated Idol telecast since a results show in the first season, which aired during the summer.

Big Bang had 16 million viewers and also had a 5.4 rating. The usual way to compare shows is against each program’s overall average rather than trying to split them up, in which case Big Bang and Idol are deadlocked in the demo. But another way is to compare Big Bang to Idol‘s first half hour, when the shows were in direct competition. During that period, Big Bang won in the demo and viewers. In either case, this race is getting tighter. For more on this, see Will American Idol get overthrown as TV’s top show?

Fox had some good news too: Bones spinoff The Finder (8.5 million, 2.9) seemed destined for the dumpster after its low premiere a couple weeks back. Last night it jumped 32 percent to a healthy rating. Finder was definitely helped by ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and CBS’ Person of Interest airing repeats. But picking up additional sampling this week could still result in higher ratings in the future when the competition returns.

Also Thursday: Rob (11.6 million, 3.5) remained steady. NBC had 30 Rock (4 million, 1.9) instead of The Office at 9 p.m. The Firm (3.8 million, 1.0) rose 11 percent.

Read more:

‘American Idol’ recap: The Revolution is Here

’30 Rock’: Two new episodes in one night! Relive the best lines 

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