NBC Scores With “Must See” Lineup

Dec 1, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC’s new Thursday comedy block lineup generated across-the-board season highs last night, with “My Name is Earl” and “The Office” topping ABC’s freshman hit “Ugly Betty” in the 8 p.m. hour.

The Peacock Network recently shuffled its Thursday lineup, returning to the two-hour comedy block format the network popularized in the 1980s and 1990s. NBC moved the struggling “30 Rock” to Thursday at 9:30 from Wednesdays, and last night aired the sixth season premiere of “Scrubs” at 9 p.m.

Though ABC still won the night thanks to the ongoing strength of “Grey’s Anatomy” and competition was flagging thanks to CBS airing a rerun of “CSI,” the NBC comedy block showed considerable strength. After seeing the numbers this morning, NBC said they will pick up a full season order of “30 Rock.”

“We look forward to future episodes of this bright new show, which is right on-brand for our Thursday-night comedy block,” said Kevin Reilly, president, NBC Entertainment.

Starting at 8 p.m., NBC had “Earl,” which earned a 4.3 rating among adults 18 to 49, according to Nielsen Media Research. Next was an episode of “The Office” (4.6) penned by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, creators of the original BBC version of the show. That installment earned the series its highest rating since last February.

The “Scrubs” premiere (3.9) was the highest-rated episode since last January. “30 Rock,” whose rating is still anemic compared to the rest of the lineup (3.0), nonetheless earned its best showing to date. At 10 p.m., “ER” (6.0) had its best rating since Oct. 12.

ABC’s “Betty” rebounded from its recent three-week decline (4.1) and “Grey’s” posted a 9.6. At 10 p.m., ABC tried out freshman series “Men in Trees” (4.0), which had its best rating yet but still lost 58 percent of its lead-in.

On CBS, there was an on-par “Survivor” (5.3), followed by reruns of “CSI” (5.0) and “Shark” (2.8). Fox had “Til Death” (1.9) and “The OC” (1.6). The CW had a weak night with “Smallville” (1.2) and “Supernatural” (1.0).