Ratings drop more than 25% from premiere

One week after opening with the best numbers for a new drama this season, ABC’s “Life on Mars” came back to earth Thursday, lagging dramas on NBC and CBS in its 10 o’clock timeslot. The Alphabet fared better in the night’s middle hour, where “Grey’s Anatomy” reasserted itself as the top demo draw opposite CBS drama “CSI,” which fell sharply from its premiere. 

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, CBS got the night off to a winning start with “Survivor” (4.2 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, 12.9 million viewers overall), which comfortably beat both ABC’s “Ugly Betty” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) and NBC’s comedy combo of “My Name Is Earl” (2.6/8 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and “Kath & Kim” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall); “Kim” was down from its solid premiere of the previous week.

At 9, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (5.8/14 in 18-49, 14.6 million viewers overall) was up a bit vs. its relatively low performance of the previous week, beating CBS’ “CSI” (5.1/13 in 18-49, 18.8 million viewers overall) in key demos one week after the CBS drama posted its first 18-49 victory to date over an original episode of the medical drama. NBC’s “The Office” (4.1/10 in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) and “Saturday Night Live” special (4.1/10 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) ranked third, fading after strong deliveries last week.

The night’s most interesting developments took place at 10 o’clock, where ABC’s “Life on Mars” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall) lost more than 25% of its premiere-week demo average, finishing behind NBC’s “ER” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall) and CBS’ “Eleventh Hour” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall). In a good sign for the CBS drama, it was on par with its premiere score even though lead-in “CSI” plummeted by more than 25% from its season premiere.

Fox did little with “Hole in the Wall” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 3.6 million viewers overall) or “Kitchen Nightmares” (1.4/3 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall), while CW’s “Smallville” remained solid at 8 (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) but “Supernatural” declined (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall).

Reliable early numbers weren’t available for TBS’ coverage of Game 5 of baseball’s American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Rays. Boston rallied to force a sixth game on Saturday night.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 4.2/11; ABC, 3.7/10; NBC, 3.4/9; Fox and CW, 1.4/4.

In total viewers: CBS, 14.6 million; ABC, 10.4 million; NBC, 7.8 million; Fox, 4.0 million; CW, 3.6 million.

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