ABC, CBS Tie For Thursday Night, '30 Rock' Tanks

NBC may be coming back on Sunday and Monday nights. But last Thursday was a reminder that the comeback trail is still a rocky one.

Its "30 Rock" comedy--the network's second program about a fictional late-night comedy sketch show--continued to under-perform on its new night. The show pulled in a 2.4 rating/6 share among 18-49 viewers, which is its season average.

The show was a super-size version, airing from 9:20 to 10:01 p.m. Its regular time slot will be at 9:30 p.m. following "Scrubs," which will move into the 9 p.m. period, starting in two weeks. Analysts give "30 Rock" until then to form a real determination for its future.

"30 Rock" also fared far worse than the show it replaced--"Deal or No Deal"--which has pulled in high 3 and low 4 ratings in the time period.

For the top stakes overall, CBS nipped ahead of ABC for the first time this season, with a 5.9/15 to ABC's 5.8/15. NBC came in third with a 4.2/11. Both ABC and CBS had improved performances from the week before, but CBS' gains were better. For instance, in the highly visible 9 p.m. time slot, ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" earned an 8.7 rating--a smidge better than the week before at 8.6.

But CBS' "CSI" closed the gap dramatically to "Grey's"--the procedural crime drama was up 16% to a 8.0 rating, one of the closest second-place finishes to "Grey's" since the start of the season.

As a consolation prize, NBC at 10 p.m. continued to receive top honors for the time period with "ER" at a 5.5. rating. ABC did better with a Barbara Walters special, "30 Mistakes in 30 Years," than with "Six Degrees" in recent weeks--turning in a 4.8 rating. CBS continued its stable turn, with a 4.4 for "Shark" for third place.

Fox continued to struggle on Thursday--"'Til Death" did a 1.9 and "The O.C." came in with a 1.7. Overall, Fox earned a 1.8/5 for the night, just edging out the CW at a 1.7/4 and Univision at a 1.6/4.