'Idol,' 'Fifth Grader' capture Thursday


NEW YORK -- "American Idol" and the third episode of "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" clearly took Thursday night's primetime, but CBS's "Survivor: Fiji" managed to increase its traction against "Idol."

Both Thursday heavyweights "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI" were repeats, which also heavily tipped the balance in favor of Fox.

"American Idol" averaged 27.1 million viewers and a 10.4 rating/26 share in adults 18-49, according to preliminary data released Friday by Nielsen Media Research. "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" (23.5 million, 9.4/22) stayed steady in viewership in its third episode following "Idol" and was down only slightly from Wednesday night's 9.8/23 in the demo.

But against "Idol" but only repeats on ABC and NBC, "Survivor: Fiji" (14.7 million, 5.0/13) saw gains from last week's 13.5 million, 4.6/12. "Ugly Betty" (7 million, 2.2/5) as well as both "My Name Is Earl" (7.4 million, 3.0/8) and "The Office" (6.5 million, 3.0/7) were repeats.

Without originals of "Grey's Anatomy" (10.5 million, 3.9/9) and "CSI" (15.7 million, 4.3/10), "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" romped in the 9 p.m. hour. NBC's "Scrubs" (6.8 million, 3.4/8) scored its highest adults 18-49 ratings in a month; "30 Rock" (5.6 million, 2.7/6) had its highest ratings in four weeks.

CBS's "Shark" (12 million, 3.2/9) took a victory in viewership and the demo among all repeats at 10 p.m., with ABC running "Men in Trees" (6.8 million, 2.6/7) and NBC re-running the premiere of "The Black Donnellys" (5.4 million, 2.4/7), which disappointed in its Monday premiere.

Nightly averages: ABC (8.1 million, 2.9/7); CBS (14.2 million, 4.2/11); NBC (6.2 million, 2.8/7); Fox (25.3 million, 9.9/24); and The CW (2.5 millionj, 1.0/2).