ABC's Grey's Anatomy was the top-rated show of the night in the 18-49 demo with a 7.4 rating/18 share, according to overnight Nielsen Media Research numbers, but CBS' lineup of Survivor (4.4/13), CSI (6.3/16), and Without a Trace (3.8/11) was able to eke out a nightly win with a 4.9 rating/13 share in the demo compared with ABC's 4.8/13.
In what is becoming a pattern for some big-ticket shows, both Grey's Anatomy and CSI were down from their premieres the week before, when Grey's recorded an 8.7/21 and CSIan 8/19.
Viewing was down sharply in the 10 p.m. hour, as well, with Trace having recorded a 4.8 rating the week before to nip ABC's Big Shots at a 4.7. Big Shots fell to a 3.7 Thursday night.
But with advertisers increasingly looking to the time-shifted digital-video-recorder ratings that won't be available for more than one week, close races in essence remain too close to call.
NBC was third for the night with a 3.8/10, led by The Office at a 4.5/11. The network was touting the season premiere of 30 Rock, a bubble show last year that it decided to stick with. It set a series record in the 18-49 demo with a 3.4/9.
Fox averaged a 2.1/5. Smarter than a Fifth Grader averaged a 2.3/7, but Don't Forget the Lyrics had a forgettable 1.8/4 outing against Grey's and CSI from 9 p.m.-10 p.m.
The CW was fifth with a 1.5/4, led by Smallville (1.8/5).
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.