ABC holds off competition

Thursday's 'FlashForward,' 'Practice' staying strong

ABC’s Thursday is taking shape nicely, as “FlashForward” stayed hot in its second outing and “Private Practice” returned surprisingly strong.

Oh yeah, and in between, is the week’s No. 1 scripted program in demos, “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The Alphabet won the night comfortably among adults 18-49 (4.8/13 to 3.9/13 for CBS), according to Nielsen. ABC also held off CBS in adults 25-54 (5.3/13 to 5.0/13), while the Eye held the advantage in total viewers (14.4 million to 12.7 million).

Kicking off its third season, “Private Practice” (4.6 rating/13 share in adults 18-49, 11.58 million viewers overall) posted its best scores since a crossover episode with “Grey’s Anatomy” last February and won its hour in demos over CBS’ “The Mentalist” (3.8/11, 15.75m) and NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show” (1.5/4, 5.03m), which hit a demo low.

It’s quite a reversal from a year ago when ABC (“Life on Mars”) and CBS (“Eleventh Hour”) were struggling, and NBC was winning the hour with the start of “ER’s” final season.

And although “Private Practice” isn’t expected to stay at this lofty level on a regular basis, the medical skein may be the show to benefit most from longtime “ER” auds looking for a new show in the slot. ABC will look to keep auds tuned in by incorporating another “Grey’s” crossover episode next week.

Kicking off the night for ABC, “FlashForward” (3.7/11 in 18-49, 10.73m) tied CBS’ “Survivor” (3.7/11, 11.54m) for the demo lead, with the former dipping just 8% from its preem.

And at 9, “Grey’s Anatomy” (6.1/16, 15.69m), benefiting from stronger shows on either side of it, easily won out over CBS’ “CSI” (4.1/11, 15.94m). The crime drama was down from its second seg of last year while “Grey’s” was up.

At NBC, “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.02m) and “Parks and Recreation” (2./0/6, 4.67m) both edged up week to week but remained deep in fourth. “The Office” held steady at 9 p.m. (3.9/10, 7.41m) and, in some good news for the Peacock, rookie laffer “Community” (2.9/7, 5.86m) was up week to week.

Beginning this week, “Community” kicks off the night at 8, replacing the “SNL” specs. And starting Oct. 15, “30 Rock” is back at 9:30 behind “The Office.”

Fox held steady with its lineup of “Bones” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 9.43m) and “Fringe” (2.3/6, 6.03m) and remains up vs. last year on the night.

And CW’s “Vampire Diaries” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.53m) continues to do well with its core aud of femmes 12-34 (2.7/9), finishing just a tick behind “FlashForward” for the slot lead.

There was very little happening, meanwhile, on Friday where the best preliminary Nielsen scores came from CBS dramas “Medium” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 7.7 million) and “Ghost Whisperer” (1.7/6, 7.6 million) and NBC newsmag “Dateline” (1.7/6, 7.5 million).

Putting up especially puny numbers were Fox’s “Brothers” (0.8/3, 2.4 million), “‘Til Death” (0.8/3, 2.3 million) and “Dollhouse” (0.8/3, 2.1 million).

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