In looking at the high-profile Thursday night network lineup for the second week, virtually all of the top dramas were significantly down versus the week before--especially the 10 p.m. dramas. No shows rose above a 4.0 rating among 18-49 viewers.
Many media analysts say that with DVR now in nearly 20% of all U.S. TV homes, daily TV ratings are taking some obvious hits.
CBS' "Without a Trace"--which won the time period a week before--went south 22% to a 3.7 rating from a 4.8 number. ABC's rookie "Big Shots" also sank 22% to a 3.6 rating from a 4.7. Only "ER" was able to keep the drop to just single-digit decreases--with a somewhat surprising tie with "Trace" at a 3.7. All these viewing numbers are Nielsen final live program-plus-same-day DVR playback data.
Much was the same at 9 p.m. The two big shows--"Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI"--dropped 15% and 21%, respectively. "Grey's" still leads the way as the top-rated show with a 7.6 rating/19 share. "CSI" had a 6.4 rating/16 share.
Media analysts won't get the full picture of how DVRs played into these early-season days for a couple of weeks. Overall, CBS won the night, thanks to its strong lineup across the board. "Survivor: China" easily won the 8 p.m. time period with a 4.4 rating, which was followed by a 6.3 rating for "CSI" at 9 p.m. For the night, CBS had a 4.9/13, just edging out ABC's 4.8/12.
CBS was no slouch--consistent throughout the night. Its "Survivor: China" easily won the 8 p.m. time period with a 4.5/13 rating; "CSI" took in a solid 6.4/16, while "Trace" tied for the win at 10 p.m. with a 3.7/10.
NBC was able to make some gains, improving "30 Rock" with a special episode featuring former NBC Thursday night king of comedy Jerry Seinfeld. That boosted the show to an all-time-high 3.4 rating. Last season, it averaged a 2.7 rating.
The 3.4 number at 8:30 p.m. improved on the "My Name is Earl" 3.3 rating at 8 p.m. At 9 p.m., "The Office" came down a bit off its 5.0 plus numbers of a week ago. But it still earned a nice 4.5 rating against the usual stiff drama competition from ABC and CBS.
For the night, NBC ended up in third place with a 3.8/10. Fox had a 2.1/5, and Univision was next at a 1.6/4; then came CW at a 1.5/4.