Ups and downs in the ratings from a big night of TV, including a strong start for ABC’s new drama and why CBS shouldn’t be too worried about its performance.
Winner: “FlashForward.” The well-reviewed sci-fi/mystery series opened to pretty strong numbers, drawing 12.47 million viewers (up a smidge from 12.41 in the morning ratings) and a 4.0 rating in adults 18-49 (down slightly from its overnight 4.1). It grew in its second half-hour, which is an encouraging sign for any show, and won the 8 o’clock hour across the board.
“FlashForward” was a big upgrade in the time period — last year’s “Ugly Betty” premiere averaged 9.81 million viewers — and beat “Survivor: Samoa” in both viewers and the 18-49 demographic. It also became the first regular series broadcast to beat “Survivor” in the demo since the next-to-last episode of “Friends” in 2004.
Losers: “Community” and “Fringe.” Against the tougher competition of “CSI” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” NBC’s freshman comedy and FOX’s second-year drama both dropped sharply in their second weeks. “Community” fell about 30 percent (7.89 million to 5.39 million), while “Fringe” bled 27 percent of its viewers from last week, going from 7.82 million to 5.73 million.
Winner, but …: “Grey’s Anatomy.” The two-hour season premiere was far and away the night’s most-watched show, drawing a shade over 17 million viewers and a 6.7 18-49 rating. The demo rating is at the moment tied for the week’s best (with “House”), with only NBC’s Sunday-night NFL game likely to challenge it. However, the premiere was off a little from last season’s debut, which scored close to 18.5 million people.
Loser, but …: “CSI.” The long-running crime drama took a big hit from last season’s premiere (which came a couple weeks into the season), which averaged 23.5 million people as it concluded the story of Warrick’s death and began William Petersen’s final run on the show. Thursday’s show drew 16 million viewers, a steep drop but still well within the top 10 for the week. It’s likely that “CSI” and “Grey’s” will settle into a familiar pattern next week, with “CSI” grabbing more viewers and “Grey’s” winning the demo race.
No real cause for alarm: “The Mentalist.” The show’s second-season premiere was, a little surprisingly, down from its debut last year (15.6 million in ’08 vs. 15.07 million this year). Chances are, though, that with somewhat lesser competition in the coming weeks — “Private Practice” isn’t nearly as big a show as “Grey’s Anatomy” is — “The Mentalist” will assume the lead in viewers and at least be a very close second in the demos.
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TV ratings: ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘FlashForward’ score for ABC Thursday
Ratings breakdowns: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday