ABC’s ‘Anatomy’ widens

Two-hour episode brings in big ratings

A “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff is looking like a sure thing after Thursday’s two-hour episode of the ABC medical drama — introducing characters from the forthcoming show — delivered impressive ratings.

The Alphabet won’t announce its fall sked until next week, but it would be a shock if the still-untitled spinoff (known in some circles as “Private Practice”) doesn’t make it to air.

On Thursday, “Grey’s Anatomy” averaged a 9.1 rating/24 share in adults 18-49 and 21.23 million viewers overall from 9-11 p.m. with an episode that alternated between current storylines on the medical skein and those involving Kate Walsh, whose character, Addison, traveled down to Los Angeles to meet up with med school friends. Walsh will be joined on the spinoff by, among others, Taye Diggs, Tim Daly and Amy Brenneman.

“Grey’s Anatomy” peaked in the 9:30 half-hour (9.3/24 in 18-49), but its extension into the 10 o’clock hour did plenty of damage to the competish. NBC’s “ER” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 7.78m) and CBS’ season finale of “Shark” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 12.50m) were both down about 15% week to week.

The expanded “Grey’s Anatomy” gave ABC its best demo delivery with entertainment programming in the Thursday 9-11 p.m. time period in seven years.

Earlier in the evening, “Survivor: Fiji” won at 8 for CBS (4.6/14 in 18-49, 13.74m), with ABC’s “Ugly Betty” a solid second (3.6/11, 10.68m), drawing its best numbers in 11 weeks.

CBS won Friday, led by “Ghost Whisperer” (prelim 2.5/10 in 18-49, 9.2 million). Also of note on the night: NBC’s “Law & Order” — whose status for an 18th season next fall remains up in the air — scored a rare demo victory at 10 (prelim 2.6/9 in 18-49, 8.9 million).

Saturday went to ABC courtesy of the net preem of “Meet the Fockers” (prelim 2.1/7 in 18-49, 6.4 million).

Earlier in the day, NBC’s coverage of horseracing’s Kentucky Derby (5-6:45 p.m. ET) averaged an 8.3 overnight household rating/18 share in Nielsen’s metered markets — up 12% from last year and tying the best delivery in 15 years.

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