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Clooney helps ‘ER’ win the hour

CBS takes competitive Thursday

In a very competitive Thursday night with only one repeat, CBS nudged past ABC while NBC saw a George Clooney-fueled “ER” score the most viewers in more than two years.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, all three hours were won by different networks. CBS took the 8 o’clock timeslot with “Survivor” (4.1 rating/12 share in the 18-49 demo, 12.8 million viewers overall) handily defeating second place “Bones” (2.8/8, 9.5 million viewers overall).

“Ugly Betty” (2.1/6, 7.2 million viewers overall) continues to sputter and NBC offered up the sole repeat of the evening, “My Name Is Earl” (1.7/5, 4.4 million viewers overall), and a new edition of “Kath & Kim” (1.7/5, 4 million viewers overall).

In a tightly contested 9 p.m. hour, “Grey’s Anatomy” (4.9/12, 13.5 million viewers overall) edged “CSI” (4.2/10), which was the most-watched program on Thursday with 16.9 million viewers overall. “The Office” (4/10, 7.5 million viewers overall) was the No. 1 show among both men 18-34 and men 18-49. “30 Rock” (3.3/8, 6.4 million viewers overall) followed and is up 22% in the 9:30 timeslot versus last year.

“Hell’s Kitchen” (3.5/9, 7.8 million viewers overall) tied for its best 18-49 demo of the year and drew more viewers than any other episode.

With Clooney and former “ER” alums Julianna Margulies and Eriq La Salle co-starring (along with Oscar winner Susan Sarandon), the 15-year NBC medical drama drew a 3.9/11, 10.7 million viewers overall to take the 10 p.m. hour. It was the most viewers for “ER” since Feb. 15, 2007, and matched its season high in the 18-49 demo. The Peacock has done a strong job of marketing the final season but didn’t whet the appetite of longtime fans that Clooney would be appearing last night. If NBC had promoted Clooney’s appearance, which had been speculated for months, the network might’ve been able to draw a much higher number but a decision was made from possibly Clooney and/or “ER” exec producer John Wells to keep the actor’s storyline on the down low.

ABC’s “Private Practice” (3.4/9, 9 million viewers overall) and “Eleventh Hour” (2.8/7, 11.7 million viewers overall) followed up.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.7/9; ABC, 3.5/9; NBC, 3.1/8; Fox, 3.1/8; Univision, 1.8/5; CW, 1.3/4.

In total viewers: CBS, 13.8 million viewers; ABC, 9.9 million viewers; Fox, 8.6 million viewers; NBC, 7.2 million viewers; Univision, 4.2 million viewers; CW, 3.2 million viewers.

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