'Bones,' 'Fringe' fuel net win Thursday

They’ll face stiffer competish this week, but Fox’s scripted combo of “Bones” and “Fringe” opened a winner on Thursday.

It was a slower start, meanwhile, for a pair of still-vital vets — CBS’ “Survivor” and NBC’s “The Office” — while CW’s “Vampire Diaries” fell off in its second outing but held strong among its core young-femme aud.

For Fox, which won the night in demos, the shift of “Fringe” — last season’s top new program among young adults — to the crowded 9 o’clock hour reps a bit of a risk, but it makes sense. The net has solidified its sked on other nights and was looking for something to pair with “Bones,” which moved over last January.

And though it knows its dramas are unlikely to challenge for the night’s lead once the likes of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI” return this week, Fox has reason to be pleased about establishing a scripted presence on a night that commands big bucks from advertisers.

“Bones” opened the night with a solid second-place finish (3.1 rating/10 share in adults 18-49, 10.36 million viewers overall), up a tick vs. its bow on the night in January.

And at 9, “Fringe” (3.0/8, 7.82m) retained virtually all of its demo lead-in to place second in most categories and first in men 25-54. Still, numbers are down quite a bit from the series preem last fall (5.1/13, 13.3 million), when “Fringe” aired behind “House.”

Fox won the night in 18-49, racking up its best score with an all-scripted lineup since May 2006. It also noted that, for the first time, it beat out NBC on the night of the Peacock’s Thursday premieres (3.0 to 2.9 in 18-49 and 9.1 million to 7.3 million in total viewers).

For the Peacock, the premieres of “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday” (2.0/6 in 18-49, 5.47m) and “Parks and Recreation” (2.1/6, 4.89m) were on the low side, making it difficult for 9 p.m. laffer “The Office” (4.1/12, 8.21m), which led its slot in 18-49 but was down 16% from last fall’s opener.

It was followed by the series bow of “Community” (3.8/10, 7.89m), which retained a good 93% of its “Office” lead-in among young adults. The college-set laffer will air at 9:30 for a few more weeks before making room for “30 Rock” and assuming the 8 o’clock slot.

“The Jay Leno Show” closed things out for NBC with its lowest scores to date (2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.82m), though it still led its hour in all under-55 categories. Things will get much more difficult this week for the new stripped comedy/talk hour, as ABC and CBS roll out firstrun competing dramas.

At CBS, the 19th edition of “Survivor” (3.6/11 in 18-49, 11.66m) was down 20% from its two-hour preem of a year ago but won its time period. Its falloff, though, suggests that there’s an opening for something like ABC’s “FlashForward,” which bows this week, to step up and vanquish the reality vet.

Elsewhere, the second week of CW’s “Vampire Diaries” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 3.78m) dropped off by 18% in the net’s target 18-34 demo (1.8/6 vs. 2.2/8) and by 16% in women 18-34 (2.6/9 vs. 3.1/10). It held up best among femmes 12-34 (2.8/10), limiting its decline to 13% and winning the hour for a second straight time.

On cable, FX laffer “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” got off to a very good start (1.4/4 in 18-49, 2.25m), up 50% or more vs. its year-ago opener in all key demos and standing as cable’s No. 1 show of the night in adults 18-34 (2.1/7) and men 18-34 (2.5/8). News wasn’t as good for the net’s preview of “Archer” at 10:30 (0.5/2, 0.91m).

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