ABC, CBS battle Thursday; 'Smallville' soars

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ABC and CBS battled for bragging rights on Thursday with crowds turning out at 9 p.m. for "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Meanwhile, CW's "Smallville" hit its best numbers of the season.

ABC won the first two hours of the night in total viewers and adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research. ABC's "Ugly Betty" opened up the night with 14.1 million viewers and 4.5 rating/12 share in the adults 18-49 demo. NBC's 8-9 p.m. comedies "My Name is Earl" (9.5 million, 4.4/11) and "The Office" (9.3 million, 4.5/11) were competitive in the demo derby against a "CSI" repeat (12.3 million, 3.4/9) on CBS. But NBC's momentum ebbed from 9-10 p.m. with comedies "Scrubs" (6.6 million, 2.9/7) and "30 Rock" (5.1 million, 2.4/6).

At 9 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy" (21.9 million, 8.7/20) turned in an above-average performance on the heels of its Golden Globe award win for best TV drama series. "CSI" (21.3 million, 6.9/16) was a close second, funneling a good lead-in to CBS' 10 p.m. drama "Shark" (15 million, 4.4/12). ABC's "Men in Trees" (10.7 million, 3.7/10) ran second against a repeat of NBC's "ER" (6.1 million, 2.5/7).

After raking in more than 35 million viewers on Tuesday and Wednesday for the triumphant return of "American Idol," Fox's numbers fell back down to earth Thursday with comedies "Til Death" (5.1 million, 2.1/6) and "The War at Home" (4.4 million, 1.9/5) and soon-to-depart 9 p.m. drama "The O.C." (3.9 million, 1.7/4). CW's 8 p.m. anchor "Smallville" (5.2 million, 2.6/8) reached a season high and ranked No. 2 behind NBC's comedy combo in the adult demo race.

For the night, ABC won in adults 18-49 (ABC's 5.6/14 versus CBS' 4.9/12) while CBS prevailed in viewers (16.2 million versus ABC's 15.6 million).
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