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‘FlashForward’ off to impressive start

CBS wins Friday with 'Ghost,' 'Medium'

Promising rookie “FlashForward” and vibrant vet “Grey’s Anatomy” lifted ABC to victory on the opening Thursday of the season, while CBS carried Friday, a night that remains lackluster for every net.

On Thursday, “FlashForward” (4.0 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, 12.47 million viewers overall) opened with the best demo score for the preem of a regular 8 o’clock scripted show in two years (since ABC’s “Pushing Daisies”), according to Nielsen. It also became the first series since NBC’s “Friends” in April 2004 to best CBS’ “Survivor” (3.7/11, 11.66m) in the slot.

“Flash,” which has generated strong reviews and buzz, looks to be an upgrade in the timeslot over last season’s “Ugly Betty.”

It was followed by the two-hour, sixth-season preem of “Grey’s Anatomy” (6.7/17 in 18-49, 17.03m), which logged its best results since its kickoff and made life difficult for competitors, including CBS vet “CSI” (4.1/10, 16.01m) and Fox’s “Fringe” (2.3/6, 5.73m).

Also taking a hit opposite the strong “Grey’s” was NBC rookie laffer “Community” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 5.39m), which retained just 69% of its lead-in from “The Office” (3.9/10, 7.46m) after holding 93% in its premiere outing (when it didn’t face originals of “Grey’s” or “CSI”).

“The Office” was the only show to do much for NBC on the night, as its opening hour combo of “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 4.54m) and “Parks and Recreation” (1.8/5, 4.09m) drifted downward after their soft starts of the previous week. “Jay Leno” was similarly uncompetitive at 10 p.m. (1.7/5, 5.13m)

CBS’ “The Mentalist” ran a solid second at 10 p.m. (3.6/10 in 18-49, 15.07m) and figures to fare better relative to its “CSI” lead-in going forward sans competish from “Grey’s.” The Alphabet’s returning “Private Practice” bows at 10 this week.

CW’s “Vampire Diaries” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.80m) held up pretty well in its third outing, placing second at 8 p.m. to “FlashForward” in its core aud of femmes 12-34 (2.7/9).

CBS won Friday’s ratings race behind timeslot victories by “Ghost Whisperer” (prelim 2.2/8 in 18-49, 8.6 million) and “Medium” in its firstrun Eye debut (prelim 2.0/7, 8.8 million).

Top demo score of the night, though, came from ABC newsmag “20/20” at 10 p.m. (prelim 2.3/7 in 18-49, 7.1 million), which beat out CBS’ “Numbers” (prelim 1.7/6, 7.9 million) and NBC’s “Leno” (prelim 1.5/5, 5.7 million), with the latter posting its lowest demo score to date.

ABC replayed strong premiere-week starters “FlashForward” (prelim 1.4/5, 4.5 million), “Modern Family” (prelim 1.5/5, 4.3 million) and “Cougar Town” (prelim 1.5/5, 4.2 million) to decent numbers, suggesting strong word of mouth.

The repeats topped Fox’s weak series preem of laffer “Brothers” (prelim 1.0/4 in 18-49, 2.8 million) and second-season preem of “Dollhouse” (prelim 1.0/3, 2.6 million) as well as NBC’s combo of “Law and Order” (prelim 1.3/5, 6.3 million) and “Dateline” (prelim 1.5/5, 5.8 million).

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