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Crime crossover clicks for CBS

'CSI,' 'Trace' episodes a big success

It’s been a while since the nets engineered a sweeps crossover stunt, but the first-time pairing of Gil Grissom and Jack Malone was a ratings winner Thursday for CBS.

The Las Vegas forensics whiz of “CSI” and the New York FBI agent from “Without a Trace” teamed up to track down a serial killer, lifting the ratings for both. Biggest beneficiary was “Trace,” which uncovered its first notable Nielsens since early 2006.

Thanks to the crossover crime solvers and one of the strongest “Survivor” perfs of the season, it was the best Thursday for CBS — and the first time it had moved ahead of ABC on the night in 18-49 (5.9 rating/15 share to 5.0/13) — since premiere week. Alphabet’s “Grey’s Anatomy” remained the night’s top draw in 18-49, as it has every Thursday this fall.

According to Nielsen nationals that include same-day DVR playback, the night started out on a winning note for CBS with “Survivor: China” (4.8/13 in 18-49, 14.86 million viewers overall), which was on the high end in the demo while drawing its largest overall aud since its premiere.

“CSI” followed and was up week to week, (6.4/15 in 18-49, 21.94m), earning a strong second-place finish in 18-49 and easily leading the 9 o’clock hour in total viewers. Bigger gainer, though, was 10 o’clock drama “Without a Trace” (6.4/17, 21.69m), which was up 68% in 18-49 vs. its same-day average this season (3.8/10) and logged its best scores since early 2006.

The Eye’s gains didn’t seem to come at the expense of ABC, as “Ugly Betty” (3.5/9 in 18-49, 10.83m) inched up to best-since-premiere scores, and “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.0/19 in 18-49, 19.50m from 9 to 10:07 p.m.) was in line with its previous week’s result, when it also aired an extended episode.

“Grey’s” drew its largest overall aud since premiere week, but the good times ended there for ABC as “Big Shots” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 6.96m from 10:07 to 11 p.m.) again took a tumble in its final sweeps outing. Alphabet will give new Friday crime drama “Women’s Murder Club” a try in the plum post-”Grey’s” slot next week, and drama “October Road” will open its second season on Nov. 22 night.

Third-place NBC was well behind the leaders, led by “The Office” (4.3/10 in 18-49, 8.27m) and decent showings from “My Name Is Earl” (3.3/9, 7.66m) and “30 Rock” (3.1/8, 6.60m). “Scrubs” (3.1/7 in 18-49, 6.27m) didn’t hold up as well competitively at 9:30, and “ER” (3.5/9, 8.44m) was on the low side at 10, no doubt affected by the stronger “Trace” on CBS.

Fox ran a distant fourth among the broadcast nets with “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 8.85m) and “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” (2.3/5, 6.52m). And CW was about average with its combo of “Smallville” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 4.64m) and “Supernatural” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 3.01m).

Univision scored Thursday with the Latin Grammy Awards, which averaged 6.2 million viewers overall and set a record for the largest aud to date among adults 18-34 (3.4/9). Kudocast won the night among the 18-34 crowd in New York, Dallas and Houston.

In Friday prelims, CBS cruised to a demo victory by winning all three hours courtesy of “Ghost Whisperer” (2.9/9 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers), “Moonlight” (2.5/7, 8.0 million) and “Numbers” (2.8/8, 9.1 million).

Also of note was a pretty good Friday preem for Fox’s “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” at 9 (prelim 2.2/6 in 18-49, 6.3 million).

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