‘Trial’ makes its case

'Jury' verdict pleases NBC

The early verdict is in, and “Trial by Jury” appears to be another solid addition to NBC’s venerable “Law & Order” franchise.

One day after posting sturdy numbers in a special Thursday preview airing, “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” opened a winner in its regular 10 o’clock slot on Friday.

Although not a dominant victor, according to Nielsen, its preliminary 4.1 rating/12 share in adults 18-49 and 14.4 million viewers overall was 3 shares ahead of CBS’ special repeat of “CSI” (prelim 3.1/9 in 18-49, 9.2 million) and ABC’s “20/20” (prelim 2.9/9 in 18-49, 8.2 million).

This is NBC’s best regular-program 18-49 and total-viewer results in the hour since spring 2003 (“Law & Order: SVU”). In the 10:30 half-hour leading into the late local news, “Trial” topped second-place “CSI” by 39% in adults 25-54 (5.3/14 vs. 3.8/10).

The 4.1 rating in 18-49 is the second best delivery by a regular drama in the hour this season, behind the January series premiere of CBS’ “Numbers” (5.0/14).

In its Thursday preview at 10, “Trial by Jury” (6.2/17 in 18-49, 17.29m) won out over CBS’ repeat of “Without a Trace” (4.9/13, 14.36m) and ABC’s “Primetime Live” (2.7/7, 8.17m). It retained 90% of its 18-49 lead-in from “The Apprentice 3” (6.9/17 in 18-49, 14.83m).

Also on the night, “Survivor: Palau” (8.5/23 in 18-49, 21.68m) and a repeat “CSI” (8.4/21 in 18-49, 25.20m) rolled for CBS, and UPN’s “WWE Smackdown” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 5.71m) garnered its best men 18-34 score (2.8/9) in about a year.

And on MTV, “Making the Band 3” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 1.89m) opened with a solid 1.6/5 in persons 12-34, up about 20% from its second-season preem.

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