Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

The best numbers of the season for “Grey’s Anatomy” and a good showing for an Oprah Winfrey special carried ABC to victory on the final Thursday of the February sweep. Fox won the evening’s opening hour with a special “American Idol.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the culmination of a three-episode story arc on “Grey’s Anatomy” (11.6 rating/27 share in adults 18-49, 27.3 million viewers overall) delivered the show’s second best numbers (behind only its post-Super Bowl airing) and the best for any scripted telecast this season. In the time period, it’s the best demo performance for ABC since at least 1991.

The Alphabet also ruled at 10 with the “Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special” (6.2/16 in 18-49, 15.8 million viewers overall), which posted the net’s best numbers in the hour since a Michael Jackson special four years ago.

Fox won the night’s leadoff hour with a special results show edition of “American Idol” (9.0/23 in 18-49, 24.2 million viewers overall) but auds didn’t stick around for the series finale of “The OC” at 9 (2.8/6 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall).

At CBS, “Survivor: Fiji” (4.6/12 in 18-49, 13.6 million viewers overall) took a hit opposite “Idol” but placed second, as did 9 o’clock drama “CSI” (6.7/15 in 18-49, 21.6 million viewers overall). “Shark” (3.9/10 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall) closed out the night in its closest finish yet opposite NBC’s “ER” (4.0/11 in 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall), although both were defeated by Oprah.

NBC held up pretty well opposite “Idol” with comedies “My Name Is Earl” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 8.7 million viewers overall) and “The Office” (4.2/10 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall). And at 9:30, “30 Rock” (2.4/5 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) retained a best-yet 86% of its demo lead-in from “Scrubs” (2.8/6 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 7.0/17; Fox, 5.9/14; CBS, 5.1/13; NBC, 3.5/9; Univision, 2.6/6; CW, 0.9/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 17.6 million; CBS, 16.5 million; Fox, 15.4 million; NBC, 7.8 million; Univision, 5.9 million; CW, 2.3 million.

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