Michael J. Fox special scores; 'CSI' vs. 'Grey's' charts
ABC won Thursday night in the ratings, headlined by the 100th episode of Grey's Anatomy -- the highest-rated show of the evening -- which led into a strong performance by the network's Michael J. Fox special, Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.
ABC ran Ugly Betty (7.5 million viewers, 2.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating), up a mere tenth from last week, followed by Grey's (15.3 million, 5.3) and Optimist (10.6 million, 3.3). The medical drama rose a couple notches while the Michael J. Fox special easily won the 10 p.m. hour (though its rating should fall slightly the nationals due to a couple minutes of Grey's overrun).
CBS placed second. Survivor (12 million, 3.8) climbed a bit this week, but that did not help CSI (14.6 million, 3.5), which hit another series low, followed by a 10 p.m. repeat. CSI was also 29% below its average for the season, and has hit or matched all-time lows ever week since early April (see CSI vs. Grey's season-to-date comparison charts below).
Fox edged out NBC for third place and started with a disappointingly typical rating for a heavily publicized sweeps stunt episode of Bones (8.6 million, 2.3). The dramedy matched last week's rating despite the show's leads finally taking a romantic turn (or do they...) and getting a visit from Family Guy's Stewie. Hell's Kitchen (6.5 million, 2.7) slipped a notch.
The good news for NBC is new drama Southland (2.0) halted its descent this week; the bad news is where it stopped, with the show placing last in the hour. My Name Is Earl (4.4 million, 1.7) kicked off NBC's night and picked the wrong week to drop 19%, since the comedy is struggling for a renewal. Parks and Recreation (4.6 million, 2.0) held its number for a second week in a row. The Office (7.7 million, 3.8) and 30 Rock (6.2 million, 2.9) were about steady.
The CW's Smallville (3.4 million, 1.5) and Supernatural (2.8 million, 1.2) went up and down slightly, respectively.
Here's the CSI chart from the start of the season to date. The show's ratings spiked with the departure of William Petersen and addition of Laurence Fishburne, then have slid the past couple months. The last number is preliminary.
And for comparison, here's CSI's main competitor Grey's Anatomy, which has proved more stable this season...