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CBS Ties ABC for Thursday Win

Nov 17, 2006  •  Post A Comment

A resurgent “CSI” and “Shark” gave CBS a Thursday night boost, pulling the network into a ratings tie with leader ABC for the night.

In the 8 p.m. hour, “Survivor” posted an on-par 5.4 among viewers aged 18-49, besting ABC’s “Ugly Betty.” “Betty” continued to lose viewers, posting its lowest rating to date, according to Nielsen Media Research’s preliminary results.

At 9 p.m., “CSI” garnered a 7.9 rating, closing the gap with ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.8) to less than one ratings point, the closest margin between the two shows all season. “CSI” also topped the ABC series in total viewers for the second time in two weeks.

At 10 p.m., CBS’s “Shark” earned a season-high 4.4 against ABC’s “Barbara Walters Special” (4.9).

That lineup resulted in a 5.9 average for both networks, with NBC in a distant third place with a 4.2. Fox’s1.8 gave it fourth, and The CW’s 1.7 nearly tied that mark.

Thursday nights, which are heavily valued by advertisers seeking viewers making weekend plans, have been a battleground this season, with ABC trying to stake a claim on the territory by moving its top-rated “Grey’s” into the keystone 9 p.m. slot against top-rated “CSI.” ABC also rolled out “Ugly Betty” at 8 p.m., with hopes it would pull viewers from CBS’s aging “Survivor,” which has weakened after a controversy over its racially segregated teams earlier in the season. Last night’s results signal that CBS may be recovering ground lost earlier, when ABC was winning Thursdays with its “Grey’s”/”Betty” slate, which lured female viewers.

NBC debuted “30 Rock” in its new Thursday 9:30 p.m. time period. Despite a lead-in that included heavily-promoted, extra-long 40-minute episodes of “My Name is Earl” (3.8) and “The Office” (4.0), “30 Rock” maintained its average (2.3). That lead-in didn’t help “ER” at 10 p.m., which posted its lowest rating of the season (5.5).

Despite a low nightly average, Fox had some good news, with the now-renewed sitcom “Til Death” (1.8) up slightly and “The OC” climbing to a season-high (1.7).

The CW’s “Smallville” (2.0) bested Fox in the 8 p.m. hour.