'Lost' roars back with Thurs. win


NEW YORK -- ABC got a boost Thursday night from a familiar band of castaways.

The fourth-season premiere of "Lost" (16.1 million, 6.7 rating/17 share in adults 18-49) towered over the competition in viewership and 18-49, Nielsen Media Research said late Friday. It was up strongly from last year's season finale (13.7 million, 5.8/15), no doubt in part to not having to face "American Idol" like it did in May when it aired on Wednesday and not Thursday.

It was down 15% in viewers and 13% in 18-49 compared with last year's season premiere (18.8 million, 7.7/19) but "Lost" had its best ratings since the part-season finale Nov. 8, 2006, and was above its season average last year.

This time around, "Lost" faced the two-hour NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" (7.8 million, 3.2/8) and Fox's "Don't Forget the Lyrics" (10.1 million, 3.3/8).

Even a "Lost" clip show (13.2 million, 5.0/13) easily won the 8 p.m. hour over Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" (10.6 million, 3.1/8) and repeats the whole night on CBS.

The "Lost" halo didn't much help the heavily promoted "Eli Stone" (11.1 million, 4.0/11), which shed 5 million viewers after "Lost" ended, while the second hour of "Celebrity Apprentice" gained steam after "Lost" ended.

ABC (13.5 million, 5.3/14) convincingly won the night in viewership and 18-49 against CBS (10.2 million, 2.3/6); NBC (6.8 million, 2.8/7); Fox (10.3 million, 3.2/8); and the CW (3.4 million, 1.4/4).