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Eye gobbles up Thursday auds

Turkey Day viewers tune in to CBS

Viewers were busy gobbling down turkey instead of watching primetime television on Thanksgiving, but CBS made it a clean sweep of November’s Thursdays with an across-the-board ratings victory on the night.

Even though Eye heavyweights “CSI” and “Survivor” were down a couple of ratings points in their demo deliveries on Thursday, the net easily led the night to strengthen its hold on the top spot for the November sweep. NBC’s “The Apprentice” and “Will & Grace” also drew lower-than-usual ratings.

Of note over the long weekend was a nice showing for several theatrical premieres on Fox as the net’s strategy of bunching family-friendly pics over the holiday worked out.

On Thursday, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “CSI” (8.4 rating/22 share in adults 18-49, 24.2 million viewers overall) was easily the night’s top program, defeating NBC’s second-place “The Apprentice 2” (prelim 5.5/14 in 18-49, 13.0 million).

CBS also got the best of things at 8, with “Survivor: Vanuatu” (prelim 6.1/18 in 18-49, 16.6m) thumping NBC’s hourlong “Will & Grace” (prelim 3.1/9, 8.2m), and at 10, with “Without a Trace” (prelim 6.3/17, 19.7m) beating NBC spec “The Seinfeld Story” (prelim 5.8/16, 14.1m).

ABC did OK with its repeat pic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (prelim 2.7/8 in 18-49, 8.5 million), but Fox fared better with the network preem of “Spider-Man” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 10.4m) — the net’s best non-sports demo delivery on the night since April and its largest non-sports overall Thursday audience in 21 months.

Fox then won Friday in 18-49 (tied with CBS) and led outright in younger demos with the network preem of “Mr. Deeds” (prelim 2.8/9 in 18-49, 7.0 million) and thrived on Saturday with the bow of “Men in Black 2” (prelim 3.2/9 in 18-49, 8.1m).

ABC could still prevail for the night on Saturday with its USC-Notre Dame college football action, with the game projected to come in at about a 3.3 rating in 18-49 and more than 9 million viewers overall.

Elsewhere, CBS took Friday in total viewers thanks to a large showing at 10 for a special repeat “CSI” (4.0/12 in 18-49, 13.6m). On the same night, NBC’s two-hour “Dateline” retrospective on outgoing newsman Tom Brokaw drew a solid 3.0/9 in 18-49 and 9.6 million viewers overall.

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