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‘Grey’s’ beats ‘CSI’ in ratings battle

The new TV season’s biggest faceoff so far went to the randy doctors.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The new TV season’s biggest faceoff so far went to the randy doctors.

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” beat CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” for years TV’s most popular drama and leader of its own franchise, in their first competition.

“Grey’s Anatomy” had 25.4 million viewers for its season premiere, compared to 22.6 million for “CSI” in the same 9 p.m. time slot, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s a sharp drop from last year, when more than 29 million people tuned in to the “CSI” season premiere.

ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Co., has heavily promoted the move of “Grey’s Anatomy” from Sundays. It’s always risky to move a show, but the potential payoff is big: Thursday is considered the most lucrative night in the television business, primarily because movie companies are looking to advertise right before the weekend.

It was ABC’s best Thursday night with entertainment programming since May 2000, the network said.

There were mixed results for all the networks throughout the night. NBC’s venerable “ER” came back to win its 10 p.m. time slot with 15.6 million viewers, no small feat considering both CBS (owned by CBS Corp.) and ABC premiered new dramas with powerful lead-ins then.

CBS’ lawyer drama “Shark” was second with 14.7 million while the ABC drama “Six Degrees” had 12.6 million. In both cases, particularly “Six Degrees,” there was a large drop in viewers during the second half-hour, an indication of people who didn’t like what they saw.

CBS, meanwhile, was pleasantly surprised that “Survivor: Cook Island,” with 17.4 million, held up against strong competition. ABC ran a clip show of “Grey’s Anatomy” in that time slot that drew 13.7 million viewers.