Split decision Thurs. for ABC, CBS


NEW YORK -- ABC and CBS duked it out in Thursday's primetime, fighting to a split decision with ABC winning in the adults 18-49 demographic while CBS took another viewership crown.

Many of the shows on ABC and CBS fell to their lowest original adults 18-49 ratings to date, according to preliminary data released Friday by Nielsen Medai Research. After a monster start, "Grey's" fell to its lowest original rating of the season and has fallen in the adults 18-49 demo every week since the premiere. And Fox's "The OC" showed only an ever-so-slight improvement week-to-week in viewership after the ratings disaster for last week's premiere.

It became more of a race in the 9 p.m. battleground, with "Grey's Anatomy" (20.57 million, 8.5 rating/21 share in adults 18-49) convincingly taking the demo rating but barely eeking out a win in viewership against "CSI" (20.46 million, 6.8/17). And while that's plenty to be at or near the top of the ratings heap, it was a far cry from "Grey's" season premiere of 11.5/27 in the demo.

Yet "Grey's" seems to be having an adverse effect on "CSI," which also had its lowest original episode of the season Thursday night. It's down 32% compared its November 2005 sweeps performance of 10.1/25.

The 8 p.m. hour belonged to "Survivor: Cook Islands" (124.6 million, 4.9/13), although that was the lowest in the demo that it's been with the exception of the clip show. "Ugly Betty" (12.9 million, 4.1/11) also posted a series low.

"ER" retained its lead at 10 p.m., with 14.5 million viewers and a 5.8/16 ahead of "Shark" (13.6 million, 3.9/11) and ABC's special "Desperate Housewives" repeat (9 million, 3.7/10) that ran instead of ratings-challenged "Six Degrees."

NBC had an OK night, which began with "My Name Is Earl" (9.1 million, 3.7/11) and "The Office" (8 million, 3.9/10) before "Deal Or No Deal" (11.5 million, 3.8/9). Fox couldn't say the same thing, with the low-rated "Til Death" (4.4 million, 1.7/5) original and then a repeat a half-hour later that actually outrated the original by a slim margin. "The OC" averaged 3.7 million viewers and a 1.5/4 in the demo, up just a bit in viewership compared to last week's disaster.

Nightly averages: ABC (14.1 million, 5.5/14); CBS (16.2 million, 5.2/14); NBC (11.5 million, 4.5/12); Fox (4.2 million, 1.7/4); and The CW (3.8 million, 1.6/4).
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