‘CSI’ hits show high, but ‘Friends’ still kills

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

It was a two-net race on the opening Thursday of the new season, with programs on NBC (led by “Friends”) and CBS (paced by “CSI”) scoring monster ratings, according to prelim nationals from Nielsen. NBC won the night in all key measures, including a preliminary 12.3/29 in adults 18-49, but CBS (8.5/20) posted its most competitive Thursday premiere finish in at least 10 years.

“Friends” (prelim 33.3 million, 16.1/41 in adults 18-49) and “CSI” (a record high 30 million, 11.3/26) posted the night’s – and what figures to be the week’s – strongest scores, but NBC’s “ER” (prelim 26.7m, 13.1/32) and CBS’ “Survivor” (prelim 21.4m, 8.4/21) also delivered boffo numbers that should also place them in the week’s top 10.

CBS’ “Without a Trace,” airing at 10 behind “CSI,” averaged 16.6 million viewers and a 5.9/14 in 18-49, the most competitive drama finish opposite an “ER” premiere in eight years.

NBC’s new comedy “Good Morning Miami” (prelim 18.1m, 9.2/21) retained a pretty good 83% of its lead-in from “Will & Grace” (21.9m, 9.2/21).

Fox was a distant third with the movie “Rush Hour” (prelim 6.2m, 2.5/6) and ABC will likely finish fifth, as “Push, Nevada” (prelim 4.4m, 1.2/3) appears ready for the chopping block after just three airings.

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