Week 1: Almost Everyone Gets A Taste or Prime-Time Success
CBS, which had its turn last Thursday night, continues its tradition from last year as its mainstays "CSI" and "Survivor" again turned in strong results. "CSI," the reigning number one show on prime-time broadcast TV (until "American Idol" starts up again in January) blew down the doors with its highest premiere ratings yet--a 10.2/25 in the adults 18-49 demographic, and 29 million total viewers.
"Survivor" posted a healthy 5.9 in the 18-49 demo, and 16.6 million viewers.
CBS' sister network UPN also got a drink. UPN not only delivered "Everybody Hates Chris" with a strong 3.2/9 in the 18-49 demo and 7.8 million viewers--which are high-flying numbers for UPN--but it beat Fox's "The O.C." and NBC's "Joey" in the process.
NBC, once the long-time king on Thursdays, could only get "Joey"--in its third-worst outing ever--to a 3.0 in the 18-49 demo and 7.6 million viewers.
"The Apprentice" picked up the pace later that evening, but not by much. It earned a 4.6 rating and 9.8 million viewers, which ranks it as the worst-performing regularly scheduled episode.
To add insult to injury, CBS didn't even play its usual Thursday night starters. It put on a new drama, "Criminal Minds," in place of "Without a Trace"--and with a big push out the door from "Survivor" and "CSI" behind it, "Minds" earned a 6.7 in the 18-49 demo and 19.8 million viewers. These numbers bettered those of NBC's "ER"--6.7 in the 18-49 demo and 14.3 million viewers.
Fox had some lukewarm debuts and one obvious failure. It cancelled "Head Cases" after two episodes, when its already anemic 2.3 rating/6 share in the 18-49 demo in the first week lost about half of that audience in its second airing to a 1.2 rating and a 3 share.
ABC took home top honors on Wednesday with its big-time "Lost" season debut. One night earlier, NBC pulled a surprise with "My Name is Earl," helping the network to an unexpected big Tuesday night.
Although WB has had good showings with its highly touted "Supernatural," other shows--like the new Jerry Bruckheimer-produced "Just Legal," co-starring Don Johnson, and a comedy "Twins," with Melanie Griffith--got off to mediocre starts.