'Grey's' absence bodes well for NBC comedy

NBC’s “The Office” took advantage of a night off for ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” to reign as the most-watched primetime program in the 18-49 demo Thursday.

ABC and CBS finished in a virtual tie for top honors for the night in 18-49, followed closely by Fox and then the Peacock. NBC actually matched the Eye with an 8 share from 8-10 p.m., before faltering in the 10 p.m. hour with “The Jay Leno Show.”

CBS dominated the night in total viewers, drawing 26% more than second-place ABC and nearly twice as many as NBC.

“The Office” (4.1 rating/11 share in 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) topped a special 9 p.m. edition of ABC’s “Private Practice” (3.1/8, 9.3 million), with NBC’s “30 Rock” (3.0/8, 6.2 million) also providing strong competition at 9:30 p.m. for the Kate Walsh-starrer.

Posting its highest ratings since its season premiere, Fox’s “Fringe” (2.5/7, 6.9 million) was next in the 9 p.m. hour, with a repeat of “CSI” on CBS dropping that show to a rare fourth-place finish in the timeslot.

Things brightened for “Private” with a second airing in its regular 10 p.m. timeslot (3.4/9, 9.7 million). Up against a rerun of CBS’ “The Mentalist” (2.6/7, 10.7 million) and NBC’s “Leno” (1.5/4, 4.7 million), the second hour of “Private” boosted ABC to first place in the 9-11 timeframe.

At 8 p.m., CBS’ “Survivor” (3.9/11, 12.8 million) was the dominant player, besting Fox’s “Bones” (2.9/8, 9.9 million) and ABC’s “FlashForward” (2.2/6, 7.3 million), the latter posting season-low numbers in its final airing before going on hiatus until March 4.

For NBC, 8 p.m. entry “Community” (2.2/6, 5.4 million) was fourth in 18-49 but first in 18-34, with 8:30 p.m. comedy “Parks and Recreation” (2.1/6, 4.8 million) second in 18-34.

The CW aired reruns Thursday of “The Vampire Diaries” (0.8/2, 2.0 million) and “Supernatural” (0.8/2, 1.9 million).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS 2.9/8, ABC 2.9/8, Fox 2.7/7, NBC 2.4/6, Univision 1.4/4, CW 0.8/2.

In total viewers: CBS 11.1 million, ABC 8.8 million, Fox 8.4 million, NBC 5.6 million, Univision 3.7 million, CW 1.9 million.

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