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Ratings Chart Attack! is the TV industry’s destination for a daily dose of prime-time ratings. Delivering the daily scoop on which shows are scoring. TVWeek’s Sergio Ibarra calls the winners and losers, and what it means to broadcast network programmers. From day-in, day-out ratings to long-view trends and noteworthy performances, Ratings Chart Attack! delivers.

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Guest Stars Lift NBC’s ‘ER’ but ABC, CBS Dramas Win Night

March 13, 2009 11:16 AM

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and CBS’ “CSI” may have scored the top spots Thursday night, but both took significant tumbles from their most recent original episodes. Meanwhile, CBS’ “Survivor” continues its new season on a strong pace, while some superstar cameos helped “ER” continue its countdown-to-finale surge.

Grey's Anatomy

A new episode of “CSI” in the 9 p.m. hour scored a 4.2 rating/10 share among adults 18-49 and 17 million viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen figures. While still the No. 2 show, last night’s episode was down 21% both from last week (when music star Taylor Swift made a guest appearance) and from its season-to-date average. “CSI” matched its lowest rating ever for an original episode, tying a special Thanksgiving episode from November 2007. “Survivor” kicked off CBS’ night with a 4.1/12 (12.9 million), posting an 8% increase from last week. At 10 p.m. a new “Eleventh Hour” was down a tick to score a 2.8/7 (11.8 million). CBS averaged a 3.7/10 (13.9 million) to win the night.

ABC finished the night second with a 3.5/9 (9.9 million). At 8 p.m. a new “Ugly Betty” climbed 24% from last week’s low to score a 2.1/6 (7.2 million), on par with the previous season-to-date average. The night’s top show, “Grey’s Anatomy,” came back after repeat episodes with a 4.9/12 (13.5 million), the show’s lowest rating ever for an original telecast. Last night’s episode was down 18% from the previous season average and down 17% from its last original episode on Feb. 19, a crossover with “Private Practice.” At 10, that drama (3.4/9, 9.1 million) posted similar dips, down 17% from its season average and down 23% from its last original telecast, also on Feb. 19.

With guest appearance from alums George Clooney and Julianna Marguiles as the show nears its finale, NBC’s “ER” bounced back with a 3.9/11 (10.7 million), up 15% from the previous week and scoring its biggest audience in over two years. The season finale of “Kath & Kim” went out with a 1.7/5 (4 million), down a tick from last week and off 23% from the show’s season-to-date average. (No word yet on whether the show is getting picked up for a second season.) In the 9 p.m. hour “The Office” (4.0/10, 7.5 million) was down 11% from last week to a new season low; “30 Rock” (3.3/8, 6.4 million) also was down 11% from the week before. “My Name Is Earl” was a repeat at 8 p.m. The network tied for third with a 3.1/8 (7.3 million).

Fox also finished the night with a 3.1/8 (8.7 million). “Bones” was down a tick from its last original episode on Feb. 19 to score a 2.8/8 (9.6 million). “Hell’s Kitchen” (3.5/9, 7.8 million) matched its highest rating this season, despite not having an “American Idol” lead-in. Both programs have been performing better than the season-to-date averages for their time periods, with “Bones” up 43% at 8 p.m. and “Hell’s Kitchen” up 60% at 9 p.m.

The CW came in with an average 1.3/4 (3.3 million) for the night. A new “Smallville” (1.6/5, 3.7 million) matched its previous performance for an original episode, while “Supernatural” (1.1/3, 2.8 million) was down 21% from its last original. The network averaged a 1.3/4 among women 18-34.

(Updated: "ER" audience. 12:20 p.m.)

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