James Hibberd
February 03, 2012 AT 12:00 PM EST

This is becoming the ratings equivalent of Ali vs. Foreman.

Once again, Fox’s American Idol and CBS’ Big Bang Theory delivered the exact same adult demo rating to top Thursday night. Idol‘s rating dropped a tenth from last week — and so did Big Bang‘s. CBS points out (just like it has for the past three weeks) that Big Bang was higher rated during its half hour. Yet the sitcom can’t quite topple Idol where it counts: Show vs. show to win the night. Can we get Jim Parsons and Ryan Seacrest in a cage match?

Fox led Thursday overall with Idol (17.9 million viewers, 5.4 adult demo rating) and The Finder (6.9 million, 2.4). With the 9 p.m. competition returning last night, the Bones spinoff slipped 14 percent from last week’s surge.

Collateral damage in the fight: NBC’s 30 Rock (3.2 million, 1.3) has not been well-served by its move to 8 p.m. this season, right into the Big Bang vs. Idol clash. Rock was down 19 percent to an all-time ratings low. Possibly a factor: There are some reports on Twitter of people having trouble DVRing the show last night.

Here’s the rest of NBC’s ratings sadness block: Parks and Rec (3.6 million, 1.8) was up 6 percent. The Office (5.3 million, 2.7) was down 10 percent to a low. Up All Night (3.8 million, 1.8) was down 5 percent. The Firm (3 million, 0.8) was down 20 percent to a low.

UPDATE: NBC pulls The Firm from Thursdays!

CBS was second with a fairly stable Big Bang (16.4 million, 5.4) and Rob (11.3 million, 3.4). Person of Interest (14.9 million, 3.3) was up a bit, but The Mentalist (13.5 million, 2.8) was down 7 percent.

ABC had Wipeout (5.9 million, 1.8) and Kate Walsh guest starring on Grey’s Anatomy (9.6 million, 3.5), followed by Private Practice (6.7 million, 2.3).

The CW’s Vampire Diaries (2.7 million, 1.2) was up a tick. Secret Circle (1.7 million, 0.7) was stable.

Read more:

‘American Idol’ recap: Arch Angels

’30 Rock’: It’s a Jack-off!

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ recap: Bizarro Seattle Grace

‘The Vampire Diaries’ recap: Family Business 

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