'Betty,' 'Grey's Anatomy' secure ratings victory

The finales of “Ugly Betty” and “Grey’s Anatomy” lifted ABC to victory on the first night following the end of the television season. The shows were airing their conclusions later than usual due to time constraints brought on by the writers strike.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Ugly Betty” (2.8 rating/9 share in adults 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (6.9/18 in 18-49, 17.8 million viewers overall) delivered their best numbers since returning from the writers strike, but they repped the lowest season-finale scores for both shows. “Betty” ran second in its 8 o’clock hour while “Grey’s” was the easy winner from 9 to 11 p.m., peaking with a 7.6/21 in the demo and 19.4 million viewers overall in its final half-hour.

“Grey’s” delivered the highest 18-49 rating for a scripted program in more than three months — since Fox’s “House” on Feb. 5.

Elsewhere, Fox’s two-hour season premiere of summer veteran “So You Think You Can Dance” held up very well (3.4/10 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall), coming within 8% of its year-ago premiere, which didn’t oppose such tough competition. “Dance” won its opening hour and then ran second to “Grey’s Anatomy” from 9 to 10.

NBC aired a 90-minute “Deal or No Deal” (2.5/8 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall) followed by the season premiere of “Last Comic Standing” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), which came in down more than 15% from its most recent premiere nearly a year ago.

CBS had a weak night, likely headed for a sixth-place finish in 18-49 (behind Univision and NBA playoffs action on ESPN) when nationals are issued. Following special repeats of comedies “The Big Bang Theory” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 4.3 million viewers overall) and “How I Met Your Mother” (1.5/5 in 18-49, 4.5 million viewers overall), repeats of “CSI” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and “Without a Trace” (1.7/4 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall) both did little business.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 5.5/16; Fox, 3.4/10; NBC, 2.4/7; Univision, 1.6/5; CBS, 1.5/4; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 14.8 million; Fox, 8.6 million; NBC, 8.1 million; CBS, 6.2 million; Univision, 3.7 million; CW, 2.0 million.

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