Reality competition wins Thursday night

Thursday was another quiet night on the ratings front for the broadcast networks, with Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” setting the pace and CBS drama “Swingtown” seeing more declines despite softer competition.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “So You Think You Can Dance” averaged a 3.0 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 8.8 million viewers overall to dominate the 9 o’clock hour and stand as the night’s top-rated program. Both it and lead-in “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” (1.9/7 in 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall) were up a tick vs. last week when they had to contend with the high-rated NBA Finals on ABC.

At CBS, following low-rated comedy repeats “How I Met Your Mother” (1.3/5 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) and “Rules of Engagement” (1.4/5 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall), a repeat “CSI” settled for third place among young adults at 9 p.m. (2.0/6 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall). It was followed by “Swingtown” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), which again built slightly on “CSI” in 18-49 but declined for a second straight week following its fairly good bow; still, the ’70s-set drama won its hour in all key categories.

NBC started slowly with a repeat of “The Office” (1.2/5 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall) but saw “Last Comic Standing” improve week to week (2.0/6 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall) and place second for the 9 o’clock hour. Closing out the night, “Fear Itself” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) was on par with the previous week and placed second among the broadcasters in the 10 o’clock hour.

ABC was barely a blip on the radar with a repeat of “Ugly Betty” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) and a two-hour repeat of “Grey’s Anatomy” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 2.5/8; CBS, 1.8/6; NBC, 1.7/5; Univision, 1.6/5; ABC, 1.0/3; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 8.3 million; CBS, 6.0 million; NBC, 4.4 million; Univision, 3.8 million; ABC, 3.2 million; CW, 2.1 million.

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