NBC's comedy block cools off some

CBS edged out ABC for the demo lead on Thursday, a night that saw NBC’s comedy block cool off some and allow the Eye and Alphabet to gain ground in the middle hour. CBS won the night as usual in total viewers, led by “CSI.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, CBS started the night a winner with “Survivor” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall) although it was on the low side. “CSI” followed with week-to-week gains at 9 o’clock, placing second in 18-49 (5.1/12 in 18-49, 18.1 million viewers overall) and winning its hour in total viewers. At 10, rookie “Eleventh Hour” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 11.0 million viewers overall) was up vs. the previous week to place second in most demo categories.

ABC saw gains for all three of its programs, starting with a second-place finish from “Ugly Betty” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall). At 9, “Grey’s Anatomy” (5.9/14 in 18-49, 15.6 million viewers overall) won with its highest scores since its two-hour season premiere, and “Life on Mars” closed out the night with best-since-premiere scores as well (2.9/8 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall).

NBC was solid at 8 o’clock with “My Name Is Earl” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall) but dipped some at 8:30 with “Kath & Kim” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall). The 9 o’clock comedies “The Office” (4.2/10 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) and “30 Rock” (3.9/9 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) were down week to week, though this still repped the second best delivery for “30 Rock,” which featured a guest appearance by Oprah Winfrey. “ER” (3.3/9 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) was in line with its recent average to win at 10 o’clock in the 18-49 demo.

Fox had a quiet night but was up vs. last week with a pair of original “Kitchen Nightmare” episodes. The unscripted show averaged a 2.0/5 in 18-49 and 4.4 million viewers overall at 8 o’clock and 2.2/5 in 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers overall at 9.

CW’s “Smallville” achieved season highs (2.0/5 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall), and “Supernatural” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) was above average as well.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 4.0/10; ABC, 3.9/10; NBC, 3.3/6; Fox, 2.1/5; CW, 1.8/5; Univision, 1.7/4.

In total viewers: CBS, 13.8 million; ABC, 11.2 million; NBC, 7.6 million; Fox, 4.6 million; Univision, 4.4 million; CW, 4.3 million.

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