Crime rate: 'CSI,' 'Trace' lift CBS to top

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NEW YORK -- A strong "CSI" rocketed CBS to the top of the primetime ratings Thursday, with the network getting a boost from a renewed "CSI" as well as "Without a Trace" back in familiar surroundings.

"Grey's Anatomy" pushed past "CSI" in the adults 18-49 demographic head-to-head, though "CSI" was more than 4 million viewers ahead, while NBC's "The Office" living in the same crowded 9 p.m. time period tied its series record in the demo with an hourlong episode. Preliminary ratings data was released Friday by Nielsen Media Research.

"Grey's Anatomy" (20.5 million, 8.7 rating/21 share in adults 18-49) won the hour and the night in the demographic. "Grey's" built strongly on its lead-in and grew in the hour, though it was down from last year's 11.0 rating in the demo. "CSI" (24.8 million, 8.0/19) not only beat "Grey's" in viewership but was up from last year's 7.7/19 in adults 18-49 and was up 2.2 million viewers compared with last year.

And NBC's "The Office" (9.7 million, 5.1/12) was up from last year's premiere (9.1 million, 4.3/11), was up 38% from its lead-in and matched its highest adults 18-49 rating ever that was set on Jan. 12, 2006.

The 10 p.m. showdown between a new drama and two established ones went to CBS' "Without a Trace" (16.7 million, 4.8/13), which settled into its former time period and came out higher than the premiere of "Shark" last year when it averaged a 4.1/11 and 14.7 million viewers. "Trace" also retained 60% of the "CSI" audience compared with 53% last year for "Shark."

ABC's premiere "Big Shots" (11.6 million, 4.7/13) was right behind it in adults 18-49 although it kept only 54% of the "Grey's" lead-in. It dropped 1.4 ratings points between half hours, which may or may not be accounted for by "Grey's" going slightly past 10 p.m. "ER" (9.9 million, 4.1/11) was down 36% in viewers and 40% in the demo from last year (9.9 million, 4.1/11).

CBS won both viewership and adults 18-49 at 8 p.m. with "Survivor" (14.2 million, 4.6/13), which was down from last week's premiere (6.5/18). "Ugly Betty" (11 million, 3.8/11) was down from last year's season premiere (16.3 million, 5.0/14 in adults 18-49). NBC's hourlong "My Name Is Earl" (8.5 million, 3.7/11) gave the network the show's highest rating since Feb. 15.

Fox averaged 7.3 million viewers and a 2.0/6 in adults 18-49 against "Survivor" and the scripted shows with "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" The 9 p.m. "Don't Forget the Lyrics" averaged 5.4 million and a 1.8/4, which was better than last year's "Celebrity Duets." The CW had only "Smallville" (5.1 million, 1.9/5) as an original, which was down from last year's 2.2/6 premiere in adults 18-49.

CBS (18.6 million, 5.8/15) led the way in Thursday's primetime in the key measures, with ABC taking second place (14.4 million, 5.7/15), followed by NBC (9.4 million, 4.3/11), Fox (6.4 million, 1.9/5) and the CW (3.8 million, 1.4/4).
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