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ABC’s Thursday Lineup Slumps as Sweep Starts

April 25, 2008 12:26 PM

GreysAnatomyThe May sweep kicked off on an ominous note as several networks’ shows hit series lows in the ratings.

ABC’s “Ugly Betty” and “Grey’s Anatomy” returned in originals last night, to their lowest first-run episodes ever, minus Thanksgiving and clip shows. “Betty” reeled in a 2.5 rating/8 share in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, according to preliminary Nielsen results. “Betty” was down 14% from its last original episode.

“Grey’s,” Thursday’s top-rated show, collected a 6.3/16, off 11% from its last original in January.

“Lost” (5.5/14), returning from a monthlong hiatus, jumped into its new 10 p.m. slot just about on par with its previous season average.

ABC finished the first night of May sweeps in first place with a 4.8/13.

“Survivor” (4.0/13) was average for CBS (4.2/13), while “CSI” (4.6/11) hit its lowest Thursday original ever, minus Thanksgiving. “Without a Trace” also was flat (3.3/9) from its previous season average.

NBC (2.9/8) rearranged its schedule last night, moving “Scrubs” to 8:30 p.m. and “30 Rock” to 9:30 p.m. “Scrubs” (2.4/7) took a 37% slip from last week’s episode. “30 Rock” (2.8/7) held steady, remaining flat from last week’s episode and its season average.

“My Name Is Earl” (2.3/7) chalked up its lowest original rating, down 15% from its last episode. “The Office” (3.9/10) was off 22% from last week for an original-episode season low.

“ER” also bottomed out with an original series low (2.9/8).

Fox (2.3) aired two back-to-back episodes of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” (2.1/6, 2.5/6). In its regular 8 p.m. slot, the quiz show was off 16% from last week.

“Smallville” (1.4/4) was on par for The CW (1.2/3), while a returning “Supernatural” (1.0/2) was down 23% from its last original episode. The show also dipped 36% in the 18-34 demographic from its last original (1.4/4 to a 0.9/2).

Odds and Ends: The final player to return to this writers strike-embattled season is Fox’s “House” on Monday.

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Comments (6)

Paul Mular:

"Earl" has been stretching out the same old story line since the strike ended, I ended up drifting away.

"Scrubs", "The Office", and "30 Rock" were all below par scripts as well. Not one real laugh in them. "The Office" was surprisingly predictable.

The writing quality has gone way down since the strike ended.

Bob Gillan:

I have been feeling the same way! In general, from Earl to South Park to The Office, they've all been just... meh.

Maybe lingering resentment doesn't breed funny ha-ha's.

Snooker:

You're crazy. Office and 30 Rock are still fun and have genuine laughs. Scrubs has always been as funny as a collapsed lung and Earl is bottoming out. How exactly was the Office predictable? You knew Dwight & Michael would get Ryan into clubs? You amazingly figured out that the gang would get out of the parking lot? These shows are built on character, not sitcomy plotting.

I must agree, with the exception of Ryan's addiction confession moment (which of course went without recognition from Michael or Dwight) the scripts were sub-par last night.

I can't speak for the lingering resentment, though.

Snooker:

You will never make it into Bulb Magazine. Toys are coming to life behind your backs.

James:

Get off MILF Island.

That episode has probably made me a 30 Rock viewer for the rest of the season. I wasn't a fan before, but I caught that episode online after hearing the buzz, then I went back and enjoyed the entire season.

I still can't believe SoyJoy is a real product.

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