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‘Grey’s’ Finale Keys ABC’s Fourth Thursday Win of May Sweep

May 15, 2009 11:43 AM

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” finished its season on a high note Thursday, while CBS’ “CSI” wrapped up its season with a new series low and NBC’s “Southland” continued its downward trend.

Grey's Anatomy

The two-hour season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC averaged a 5.8 rating/16 share among adults 18-49 and 16.4 million viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen figures. Last night’s episode was the highest-rated telecast since mid-February and the most-watched since the beginning of the season, posting a 7% increase over last week and ranking as the top show of the night. This season’s finale, however, was down 18% from its finale last season (which aired outside the regular TV season). At 8 p.m., “Ugly Betty” (2.0/6, 6.8 million) was down 5% from last week.

CBS’ “CSI” (3.4/9, 14.4 million) scored its lowest original rating ever, posting a 6% dip from last week’s telecast and a 29% decrease from the show’s season-to-date average. Last night’s finale was down 31% from last year’s finale. The season finale of “CSI: NY” (3.0/8, 12.8 million) on a special night slipped 12% from the show’s regular Wednesday season-to-date average, but improved the Thursday-night time period by 25% over last week’s special repeat of “CSI.” The network kicked off the night with “Survivor: Tocantins” (3.7/12, 12 million), down one-tenth of a point from last week and in line with recent performances.

The season finales of “Bones” (2.5/8, 8.7 million) and “Hell’s Kitchen” (3.1/8, 7.4 million) both showed weekly gains on Fox, but posted their lowest season finales to date against strong competition. “Bones” increased 9% week-over-week and ranked second for its hour, but fell 26% from last year’s finale, which aired on a Monday night. “Kitchen” climbed 15% over last week, but dipped 26% from last year’s finale on a Tuesday night in July.

NBC aired season finales of its Thursday-night sitcoms to mixed results. In the 8 p.m. hour, “My Name Is Earl” (2/0/6, 4.8 million) posted an 18% week-to-week gain, but dipped 20% from its season-to-date average. “Parks & Recreation” (2.0/6, 4.3 million) failed to show an increase from its “Earl” lead-in, slipping 5% from its performance last week and wrapping up its season 17% below its previous average. Increased competition from other networks hit “The Office” (3.5/9, 6.7 million), which fell 20% from its season-to-date average and pulled in its lowest rating in its regular timeslot since April 2007. “30 Rock” (2.8/7, 5.7 million) also dropped 18% from its first-run average this season. At 10 p.m., “Southland” (1.7/5, 4.6 million) was down 15% from last week and has failed to show any weekly increase since its debut six weeks ago.

The season finale of “Smallville” (1.4/4, 3.2 million) on The CW was down one-tenth of a point from last week’s episode, while the season ender of “Supernatural” (1.3/3, 2.9 million) increased by as much.

For the night: ABC (4.5/13, 13.2 million) claimed its fourth consecutive Thursday for the current May sweeps period. CBS (3.4/9, 13.1 million) finished second, followed by Fox (2.8/8, 8.1 million), NBC (2.3/6, 5.1 million) and The CW (1.3/4, 3 million).

Final Nationals updates (2 p.m.): "Grey's Anatomy" bounced up to a 5.9/10, while "Survivor: Tocantins" also increased to a 3.8/12. Both of Fox's shows increased, with "Bones" reaching a 2.6/8 and "Hell's Kitchen" hitting a 3.2/8. "Southland" slid to a 1.6/4, reaching a new series low. At the network level, both ABC (4.6/13) and Fox (2.9/8) increased, while the others remained flat.

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