'CSI,' CBS cut rivals Thursday


NEW YORK -- "CSI" returned big Thursday without competition from a new "Grey's Anatomy" to crush everything in its way and lead CBS to a big win in viewership and the adults 18-49 demographic.

"CSI" averaged 25.9 million viewers and a 8.3 rating/20 share in adults 18-49, according to preliminary data released Friday by Nielsen Media Research. It was the highest numbers so far this season in viewers and adults 18-49 among other demographics.

"Grey's Anatomy" (10.2 million, 3.7/9) was a repeat but it did better than "Scrubs" (7.3 million, 3.6/9) and "30 Rock" (5.8 million, 3.0/7) on NBC and "The OC" (3.9 million, 1.7/4) on Fox.

But NBC won the 8 p.m. hour in the demo with its pair of comedies, "My Name Is Earl" (9.4 million, 4.3/11) and "The Office" (8.8 million, 4.3/11). That one-two punch outperformed a new "Ugly Betty" (11.6 million, 3.7/10) and Fox's sitcoms "Til Death" (5.1 million, 2.0/5) and "The War at Home" (4.6 million, 2.0/5). A repeat "CSI" (13.3 million, 3.5/9) won in viewership.

The 10 p.m. hour was split by "ER" (10.8 million, 4.6/12) and CBS's "Shark" (14.5 million, 3.7/10), both of which were new. But another "Grey's Anatomy" repeat (9.8 million, 4.0/10) outperformed "Shark" in the demo.

Nightly averages: ABC (10.5 million, 3.8/10); CBS (17.9 million, 5.2/13); NBC (9 million, 4.1/10); Fox (4.4 million, 1.9/5); and The CW (2.6 million, 1.1/3).