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December 05, 2008

Barbara Walters 'Fascinating' special scores for ABC

114522_006r_pre Barbara Walters gave ABC another ratings lift Thursday night, her annual "Ten Most Fascinating People" special performing strong at 10 p.m.

Walters' special dominated the hour and outperformed her Thanksgiving-eve Barack and Michelle Obama interview last week. "Ten Most Fascinating" (13.2 million viewers, 4.2 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) was off just a tad from last year's edition and featured profiles of Michael Phelps (No. 9), Tom Cruise (No. 2), Miley Cyrus (No. 8) and Sarah Palin (No. 3), with Obama topping the list.

The special helped ABC win the night in the adult demo despite an 11% decline from lead-in "Grey's Anatomy" to match its series low (15.2 million, 5.5). The medical soap has been getting some flack from viewers and critics for a storyline where Katherine Heigl's character Izzy is sleeping with the ghost of her ex-boyfriend, though it's unclear if that has anything to do with last night's slip. (Ausiello reports the wacky storyline is Shonda Rhimes' way of giving Heigl the Emmy-worthy arc she so publicly demanded requested last season. One imagines Rhimes explaining this to Heigl with a straight face, then cracking up in private). Lead-in “Ugly Betty” (8.5 million, 2.6) was on par.

Even with "Grey's" down, CBS’ “CSI” (17.4 million, 4.6) was also down in the hour, by 8%, to a Thursday-night low. Yet lead-in "Survivor" (12.8 million, 4.0) was unchanged. "Eleventh Hour" (10.9 million, 2.7) hit a season low. CBS and "CSI" were the most-watched network and show for the night, respectively, while ABC and "Grey's" were highest-rated in the demo.

In third place, NBC's comedy block was stable. "My Name Is Earl" (6.1 million, 2.5), "Kath & Kim" (4.9 million, 2.2), "The Office" (8.3 million, 4.3) and "30 Rock" (7.1 million, 3.4) were all within a tenth of their last original episodes two weeks ago. The steadiness meant “The Office” pulled very close to "CSI" and NBC noted that every "Rock" episode this season has either topped or tied the show’s previous series high. "ER" (8.2 million, 3.2) was also on par.

Fox and the CW aired repeats.

THURSDAY, Dec. 5, 2008







4.1/11 Ugly Betty
8.5 million, 2.6/7
Grey's Anatomy
15.2 million, 5.5/14
Barbara Walters Special
13.2 million, 4.2/11
3.8/10 Survivor: Gabon
12.8 million, 4.0/11
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
17.4 million, 4.6/11
Eleventh Hour
10.9 million, 2.7/7
3.1/8 My Name Is Earl
6.1 million, 2.5/7
Kath & Kim
4.9 million, 2.2/6
The Office
8.3 million, 4.3/11
30 Rock
7.1 million, 3.4/8
8.2 million, 3.2/10
1.7/4 Kitchen Nightmares (R)
3.7 million, 1.5/4
Kitchen Nightmares(R)
4.1 million, 1.8/5
No programming
0.8/2 Smallville (R)
2.3 million, 0.8/2
Supernatural (R)
2 million, 0.8/2
No programming


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