Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Each of the three programs on CBS’ Thursday sked set in-season ratings highs this week, powering the Eye to a virtual first-place tie with NBC for the night’s adults 18-49 lead, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen. CBS also led easily among adults 25-54 and total viewers.

At 8, “Survivor: Pearl Islands” (8.0/21 in adults 18-49, 21.3 million viewers overall) delivered its best hourlong scores of the season, topping NBC’s hour of “Friends” in both adults 25-54 and total viewers. Both “CSI” (10.4/26 in adults 18-49, 29.4 million viewers overall) and “Without a Trace” (6.0/16 in adults 18-49, 18.5 million viewers overall) followed with season highs.

“CSI” was the night’s – and week’s – top program in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers, and “Trace” retained an improved 58% of it’s “CSI” lead-in, finishing in its closest position this season to a firstrun episode of NBC’s “ER” (9.1/24 in adults 18-49, 20 million viewers overall). “ER’s” advantage over “Trace” was 52% in adults 18-49 and 42% in adults 25-54.

For NBC, “Friends” (9.2/25 in adults 18-49, 20.3 million viewers overall) was up a bit week-to-week. In the 9 o’clock hour, “Will & Grace” (7.4/18 in adults 18-49, 14.7 million viewers overall) and “Scrubs” (5.9/15 in adults 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall) both ran a distant second to “CSI.”

Elsewhere, Fox’s “Tru Calling” (1.7/5 in adults 18-49, 4 million viewers overall) was down slightly from its week-earlier premiere, but ABC drama “Threat Matrix” (2.0/5 in adults 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) moved ahead as the 8 o’clock hour’s top drama, posting one of its best scores of the season.

ABC also again did respectable biz from 9 to 11 with “Extreme Makeover” (2.6/7 in adults 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) and “Primetime” (2.8/7 in adults 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages: NBC, 8.2/21; CBS, 8.1/21; ABC, 2.5/6; UPN, 2.3/6; Fox, 1.5/4; WB, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 23 million; NBC, 17.5 million; ABC, 8 million; UPN, 5.7 million; Fox, 3.5 million; WB, 2.5 million.

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