“The Big Bang Theory” premiere scored 14 million viewers. (ADAM TAYLOR/WARNER BROS.)

Unlike scripted series that can do the best numbers they’ll ever see with their unveilings, reality competition series typically gain viewers as the contest progresses – unless a lot of those who sampled the first episode decide it belongs in their Life is Too Short category.

Now the bad news: once again, an hour of the two-hour “X Factor” episode got whomped by a comedy. How embarrassing for “record mogul” Simon Cowell.

On Thursday night, it was the one-hour season debut of CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” that thumped “record mogul” Cowell at 8 p.m. In the hour, “BB” snared more than 14 million viewers – and an impressive 3 million more than “X Factor.” “BB” also scored a higher percentage of the 18-49 year olds who are the bread and butter of broadcast TV, than Cowell’s competition.

It’s the same storyline as had played out Wednesday night when “X Factor” faced the one-hour season debut of ABC’s Modern Family.”

“X Factor” was at its best Thursday, ratings-wise, at 9:30 p.m., It appears that a chunk of the people who’d caught the first episode of NBC’s Steve Carell-less “The Office” (7.6 million viewers) opted not to check out the premiere of the sitcom that followed, “Whitney” (6.7 million).

Also at 9:30, some members of the Church of JJ – Abrams, that is –who’d checked out the first half-hour of his new CBS drama, “Person of Interest” (13.6 million) decided not to stick around for the second half-hour (12.9 million). And, and a sliver of the 2 million watching CW’s new “The Secret Circle” realized by 9:30 that it was about witches, not a hot sorority, and bailed, maybe to go see what “X Factor” cougars Nicole Scherzinger and Paula Abdul were up to.