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Ratings Chart Attack!

Petersen's 'CSI' Farewell Tops Thursday

January 16, 2009 3:08 PM

William Petersen's final episode on "CSI" gave CBS the top spot Thursday night, featuring retooled schedules to accommodate President George W. Bush's farewell address.
Rather than reschedule its programming, CBS delayed all its programming by 15 minutes after the conclusion of President Bush's speech, while ABC, NBC and Fox paired their coverage with encore episodes of other shows already in progress.

After a "CSI" repeat, Mr. Petersen's final episode as Gil Grissom gave the network a 6.2 rating/14 share average among adults 18-49 in the 9 p.m. hour, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research numbers. (His final "CSI" episode ran from 9:15-10:15 p.m.) Some 23.1 million people tuned in for the 9 p.m. hour, with a total of 24.2 million for the show’s actual span from 9:15-10:15 p.m., according to updated Nielsen numbers.

In the 10 p.m. hour "Eleventh Hour" scored a 4.2/11 and drew 15.5 million viewers, helping give CBS a 4.5/11 (17.4 million) for the night.

ABC (3.5/9, 9.1 million) took second, following coverage of the presidential farewell address with repeat episodes of "Scrubs." At 9 p.m. a new episode of "Grey's Anatomy" matched its lowest-rated original episode ever, excluding clip shows, and dipped 15% from its previous season-to-date average. "Private Practice" was up one-tenth of a rating point from its first original episode in its post-"Grey's" time period last week.

NBC (3.0/7, 7 million) took third for the night with new episodes of "My Name Is Earl," "The Office" and "30 Rock" all performing about average. A new episode of "ER" was down 21% from its previous season-to-date average.

Fox's season finale of "Kitchen Nightmares" at 9 p.m. was on par with its last original episode in December, but dropped 29% from its previous season finale. The network finished the night in fourth with a 1.8/4 (4.2 million).

The CW did not broadcast President Bush's address. "Smallville" matched its previous season high in the demographic, as well as adults 18-34. The network placed fifth for the night with a 1.5/4 (3.6 million) and averaged a 1.3 among women 18-34.

(*Below denotes time-period average combined with President Bush's speech.)

Prime Time Preliminary Thursday Ratings









3.5 / 9


1.9 / 5

6.6 million


1.8 / 5

4.8 million

Grey's Anatomy

5.2 / 12

12.9 million

Private Practice

3.4 / 9

8.7 million


4.5 / 11


3.2 / 8

13.7 mil


6.2 / 14

23.1 mil

Eleventh Hour

4.2 / 11

15.5 mil


1.8 / 4

Kitchen Nightmares*

1.6 / 4

4.1 mil

Kitchen Nightmares

2.0 / 5

4.3 mil

No Programming


3.0 / 7

My Name Is Earl*

2.4 / 7

7.2 mil

My Name Is Earl

2.4 / 6

6 mil

The Office

4.3 / 10

8.3 mil

30 Rock

3.2 / 7

6.6 mil


2.7 / 7

7 mil


1.5 / 4


1.8 / 5

4.3 mil


1.2 / 3

3 mil

No Programming

Source: Nielsen Media Research

*Ratings are specified in the 18- to 49-year-old demographic and viewership in P2+.

A note about ratings: Ratings are expressed as percentages of Nielsen's estimated 114.5 million U.S. television households. The first number, the rating, is a percentage of households tuned into a specific program at a specific time.

The second number, the share, is a percentage of households with televisions in use tuned into that same program. For example, if a show obtains a 10.2/16, this means that 10.2% of all U.S. households tuned into the program at some point during the broadcast. Meanwhile, 16% of all households watching television during the time period viewed the program at some point. Ratings are broken down further by demographic, as networks sell advertising time based on the makeup of the audience.


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