Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

NBC remained on top of the key young-adult demo categories on the second Thursday of the season, but CBS is closing the gap. Paced by “CSI,” the Eye net shaved the Peacock’s adults 18-49 advantage on the night to 22% and the two nets finished in a virtual first-place tie in adults 25-54, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

CBS also led the evening in total viewers.

For NBC, “Friends” (10.1/29 in adults 18-49, 21.9 million viewers overall) again led the way and was the top program in 18-49, while “ER” (9.6/26 in adults 18-49, 20.6 million viewers overall) doubled drama competish “Without a Trace” on CBS in 18-49. Also, the season preem of “Scrubs” (8.2/22 in adults 18-49, 17.4 million viewers overall) tied the second half of CBS’ “Survivor” in 18-49 at 8:30, while both “Will & Grace” (8.6/22) and “Coupling” (7.0/17) ran second to “CSI.”

“Coupling,” although down from its premiere in rating, retained more of its “Will & Grace” lead-in (81% in 18-49) than during premiere week (76%).

The Eye’s “CSI” (9.2/23 in adults 18-49, 25.9 million viewers overall) won its 9 o’clock hour in key categories like adults 18-49 and 25-54 while remaining the evening’s most-watched program overall. “Without a Trace” (4.8/13 in 18-49, 15.6 million viewers overall) was a solid second at 10, while “Survivor” (7.5/21 in adults 18-49, 19.5 million viewers overall) kicked off the night with a second-place finish in 18-49 and first-place honors among adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Fox continues to do well with postseason baseball, as Game 2 of the Minnesota Twins-New York Yankees series delivered a 7.6 rating/12 share in metered-market overnights, the best for a Division Series game on the net since 1999.

ABC saw its numbers perk up week-to-week, led by “Extreme Makeover” at 9 (3.1/8 in adults 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall) and “Primetime” at 10 (3.0/8 in adults 18-49, 8 million viewers overall). New 8 o’clock drama “Threat Matrix” (2.0/6 in adults 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall) was also up.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 8.8/23; CBS, 7.2/19; Fox, 2.8/7; ABC, 2.7/7; UPN, 1.6/4; WB, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: CBS led with 20.3 million to NBC’s 18.6 million.

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