ABC's sitcom The Big Bang Theory beat out Fox's reality TV titan American Idol in the Thursday night ratings war on Feb. 23.The brainy comedy overtook Idol in both overall viewers and the coveted ages 18-49 demographic. Fast National Ratings gave American Idol a 4.4 rating with adults ages 18-49 (a 14 percent drop from last week and a 39 percent drop year-over-year). Although the numbers will likely change a little when the final results come in late today it's unlikely that Idol's ratings will not approach the 5.2 rating earned by The Big Bang Theory. The sitcom, which stars four nerds drew 16.11 million (compared to Idol's 15.4 million) pushing ABC to victory in overall viewers for Thursday night prime time this week.

The episode, which can be watched here on ABC's website followed the show's five main characters (five young adult nerdy scientists and their ditzy blonde friend). On Thursday night fans watched the quirky genius Sheldon (Jim Parsons) as he struggled to adapt to change when his barber falls into a coma. As time passes Sheldon becomes increasingly unhinged, breaking out the bongos for a late-night jam session and eventually accepting an offer from their blonde neighbor Penny (Kaley Cuoco). Meanwhile Sheldon's roommate Leonard (Johnny Galecki) teaches Penny to play chess and loses their first game and engineer Howard (Simon Helberg) prepares to travel into space and undergoes a brutal series of tests, reporting back to his fiancée via online video chat sessions.

In this reporter's opinion the episode was completely acceptable and definitely funny, but failed to live up to the high standard of set by some of the show's greatest moments--and did Raj (Kunal Nayyar) have any lines at all? The best moment was definitely Sheldon's impromptu bongo performance (embedded above) but it's worth watching the rest of the episode.

The writers ended up leaving both plotlines still dangling as Penny's attempts to cut Sheldon's hair ends in disaster and Howard's fiancé shows up at the space camp, but brings along a less-than-welcome guess, his grouchy mother. Hopefully the stories will wrap up next week, though it's possible that the show's writers have decided to leave it up to the viewer to imagine how the plot will resolve. Either way, the tactic is likely a ploy by the show's producers to maintain their strong ratings.

Big Bang Theory has battled with American Idol over ratings all season, finally winning more viewers on Feb. 23, possibly signifying an end to Idol's lengthy dominance of Thursday night primetime.

Twitter Reactions

Simon Helberg, (Howard), tweeted, Thanks everyone for watching last night and saying such kind things! Of all my followers-religious, cult, short-I like you the best.

Kunal Nayyar (Raj), tweeted, @TVGuide: Ratings: #BigBang beats #Idol overall for the first time woohoo, thanks guys! Love you all:)

Fred Firestine, a self described candian TV and pop culture junkie tweeted: Go nerds! RT @EW: History: 'Big Bang Theory' beats 'American Idol' outright for first time

Brian Moylan, who's profile states he is a Gawker sh-t talker, tweeted, Big Bang Theory is officially more popular than American Idol.

And Hannan, a bilingual business school student in Paris, tweeted, Just watched the last episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon killed me, lmfao.