“Grey’s Anatomy,” headed for a tough Thursday night slot in the fall, proved it can stand on its own Monday with a powerhouse perf for its season finale.
The second-year medical drama, which has blossomed into a megahit behind “Desperate Housewives” on Sunday, easily toppled dramas “24” and “CSI: Miami” and gave ABC its highest-rated Monday (excluding sports and awards shows) in 11 years.
Night was disrupted somewhat by President Bush’s speech to the nation at 8 p.m. EDT. In much of the country, the lineups of CBS and Fox ran in their entirety beginning about 8:20 p.m., while NBC and ABC joined their programming in progress so that the rest of the night ran on time.
According to Nielsen, “Grey’s Anatomy” averaged a 9.9 rating/22 share in adults 18-49 and 22.5 million viewers overall from 9 to 11, rising with each half-hour and improving on its regular-slot score of the previous night. Show did a 30 share in women 18-34.
Fox had a solid night with the season finale of “Prison Break” (4.4/11, 10.24m) and the penultimate seg of the season for “24” (5.4/11, 13.16m).
NBC looked good early as well with an expanded 100-minute episode of “Deal or No Deal” (5.1/12, 16.44m), but then faded at 10 with “The Apprentice 5” (3.3/8, 8.04m).
Tough competish from “Deal” and “Grey’s” had an effect on the CBS lineup, with top shows “CSI: Miami” (5.6/14, 17.50m) and “Two and a Half Men” (3.8/8, 11.04m) at firstrun season lows.
Through Monday, and with nine nights to be tabulated, Fox held the advantage for the May sweep in adults 18-49 with a 4.1 rating/11 share (up 5% in rating vs. a year ago), followed by CBS (3.8/10, down 14%), ABC (3.5/10, down 5%) and NBC (3.1/9, down 3%).
CBS has a commanding lead in total viewers and also led in adults 25-54 (4.9/12 to Fox’s 4.3/11), with these nets expected to battle to a close finish in this demo. Fox will have no problem winning in the 12-34 category, posting a comfortable advantage over ABC through Monday (3.7/12 to 2.7/9).