NBC’s Thursday hits season high

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

A live episode of “Will & Grace” and more series highs for “The Office” lifted NBC’s Thursday lineup to its best averages of the season. On a night when CBS aired all repeats, the Peacock prevailed in all key demos.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Will & Grace” kicked off the night by delivering the net’s best score in the time period in 11 months (4.4 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall), and new laffer “Four Kings” again built on that in rating at 8:30 (4.5/12 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall).

At 9, the second week of “My Name is Earl” was up to nab NBC’s top 9 o’clock perf of the season (5.9/15 in 18-49, 12.5 million viewers overall), and “The Office” (5.1/12 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall) again retained more than 85% of its 18-49 lead-in to hit regular-slot series highs for a second straight week. “ER” then closed out the night with an easy victory at 10 (6.7/18 in 18-49, 15.4 million viewers overall).

ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” again performed well (4.5/12 in 18-49, 17.2 million viewers overall), this time with a 90-minute episode that virtually matched its perf in the time period of its premiere a week earlier. New comedy “Crumbs” was sampled nicely at 9:30 (3.6/9 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall), placing third in 18-49 and second in total viewers — the net’s best demo score for a regular scripted program in more than 8 years. “Primetime” then hit a series high at 10 for the net (3.1/8 in 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall).

CBS settled for a rare second-place finish on the night, led by repeats of “CSI” (5.4/12 in 18-49, 17.7 million viewers overall) and “Without a Trace” (4.2/11 in 18-49, 14.1 million viewers overall).

Fox’s revamped lineup struggled, placing fourth with both “That ’70s Show” at 8 (2.4/7 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) and “The OC” at 9 (2.5/6 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall).

At the WB, the second season of “Beauty and the Geek” performed very well (2.3/6 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall), building on its “Smallville” lead-in. In adults 18-34, its 2.7/8 is the best for the Frog in the time period in two years.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 5.6/14; CBS, 4.1/11; ABC, 3.9/10; Fox, 2.5/6; WB, 2.3/6; UPN, 0.9/2.

In total viewers: CBS, 14.0 million; ABC, 13.7 million; NBC, 12.1 million; Fox, 5.2 million; WB, 5.0 million.

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