CBS' season debut of "CSI" crushed all comers among key 18-49 viewers with a Nielsen 7.1 rating/17 share, including its longtime nemesis ABC's "Grey's Anatomy." Although "CSI" is down a bit from its year-ago debut, it held a rating point-and-a-half advantage over ABC's big show--which earned a 5.6/13, down from its typical average.
CBS easily won the night with a 4.9/13, well ahead of ABC with a 4.0/11. NBC was within a whisker of ABC, at a 4.0/10.
In regard to new network shows, however, ABC got the better of CBS, earning a strong 3.7/10 for new drama "Life on Mars" at 10 p.m, with CBS' "Eleventh Hour" earning a 3.2/9. But neither could match NBC's "ER," which won the 10 p.m. time periods with a 3.9/11.
NBC also did well earlier in the evening with another new effort, "Kath & Kim," earning a decent 3.2/9 at 8:30 p.m. "The Office" at 9 p.m. had a strong 4.8/12.
NBC's best effort came from a half-hour "Saturday Night Live Special" at an unusual 9:30 to 10 p.m. time period, reaching a 5.1/12. "SNL" in its regular 11:30 p.m. Saturday night time slot has been getting strong results recently, in part thanks to Tina Fey's impersonations of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
In the 8 p.m. time period, CBS was the easy winner with "Survivor: Gabon" earning a 4.4/14.
Although well down in second place, NBC's "My Name is Earl" was up slightly against its numbers for the week before with a 2.8/8. ABC's "Ugly Betty" came in after that with a 2.6/8.
Fox's Major League Baseball Championship series, Philadelphia Phillies-Los Angeles Dodgers, only earned a 2.5/7. Fox's average for the night was a 2.3/7.
Against stiff competition from some of the bigger networks, the CW's "Smallville" and "Supernatural" rose somewhat among its key 18-34 audience versus the week before. "Smallville" got a 1.6/4 and "Supernatural" earned a 1.4/3.