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November 21, 2008

Thursday ratings: Best 'Grey's' since premiere

Greys3 ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" climbed Thursday night to reach its biggest audience and highest adult rating since its season premiere two months ago.

"Grey's" was seen by 15.7 million viewers and received a 6.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating, leading the night as the highest-rated show and topping key competitor "CSI" by its biggest margin all season. The gains came despite lead-in "Ugly Betty" (8.3 million, 2.5 rating) holding steady. At 10 p.m. "Life on Mars" (8 million, 2.5) grew a tenth, though placed last in the hour despite a chart-topping lead-in.

ABC ranked second for the night overall, with CBS coming in first place once again among total viewers and the adult demo. "Survivor" (12.6 million, 4.0) was stable, but "CSI" (18.4 million, 4.9) fell very slightly. The "CSI" dip meant "Eleventh Hour" (10.7 million, 2.8) also dropped a bit.

Last night a promo announced that Lawrence Fishburne will make his "CSI" debut Dec. 11. It should be interesting to watch "CSI" ratings as the show gradually swaps lead characters. According to this AOL poll, 37% stated they will no longer watch "CSI" after William Petersen departs. Though the percentage seems too high and cannot factor what new appeal Fishburne might bring to the show during the transition period, the numbers suggest some viewers are going to need convincing to stick around.

In third, NBC had a mixed night. "My Name Is Earl" (6.8 million, 2.6) did its usual flux down a couple tenths after last week's gain. Despite the "Earl" drop, "Kath & Kim" (5.5 million, 2.3) and "The Office" (8.4 million, 4.3) went up a couple tenths each. "30 Rock" (7.3 million, 3.5) fell a notch. At 10 p.m., "ER" (9.1 million, 3.5) declined just slightly from last week's boost to win the hour. (Much has been made in the entertainment press of "Rock" ratings going down despite Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Aniston appearing in recent episodes. Regular readers know that such drops were not reflections on the guest stars or some intrinsic failure of the show, but the nearly inevitable declines that follow a series-high premiere rating -- especially one boosted by all the Sarah Palin-impression hoopla. This week, though down a tenth, "Rock" appears to be settling).

In fourth, Fox's "Kitchen Nightmares" (4.7 million, 2.0) was on par at 8 p.m. and aired a repeat in the second hour. 

Ratings for the CW's "Smallville" (4.8 million, 1.9) and "Supernatural" (4.0 million, 1.6) are more preliminary than usual due to football preemptions.

THURSDAY, Nov. 20, 2008







Ugly Betty
8.3 mil, 2.5/7
Grey's Anatomy
15.7 mil, 6.1/15
Life on Mars
8.0 mil, 2.5/7
3.9/10 Survivor: Gabon
12.6 mil, 4.0/11
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
18.4 mil,  4.9/12
Eleventh Hour
10.7 mil, 2.8/8
3.3/9 My Name Is Earl
6.8 mil, 2.6/7
Kath & Kim
5.5 mil, 2.3/6
The Office
8.4 mil, 4.3/10
30 Rock
7.3 mil, 3.5/8
9.1 mil, 3.5/9
1.9/5 Kitchen Nightmares
4.7 mil, 2.0/6
Kitchen Nightmares (R)
4.2 mil, 1.8/4
No programming
1.8/5 Smallville
4.8 mil, 1.9/5
4.0 mil, 1.6/4
No programming


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