Nielsen Ratings May 8, 2008: Trouble in Shonda-land?

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May 9th, 2008

Scoreboard for Thurs. May 8, 2008 CBS ABC FOX NBC CW
Total Viewers (million) 15.03 11.62 6.98 6.58 3.25
Rating/Share: Adults 18-49 4.3/12 4.4/12 2.0/5 2.8/8 1.3/4

As is typical for primetime Thursdays,  it's mixed leadership between the Tiffanys and the Mouse with CBS having the most viewers and ABC winning the 18-49 demographic, though only barely due to the "there's no Lindsay Lohan yet" 18-49 performance of Ugly Betty.  ABC is dominant in the 9pm and 10pm hour in the demo with Grey's Anatomy (which outperformed CSI in the demo by 20%) and LOST.

I really enjoyed last night's LOST.  Some of the magic for me is in the casting.  Michael Emerson is wonderful as a creepy Benjamin Linus and relatively new addition Kevin Durand is great as an evil mercenary.  Line of the night from Ben: "Destiny is a fickle bitch."  LOST had 11.28m and a 4.9/13 in the demo.  I also watched Supernatural, and it was the best episode I remember seeing in a while and enjoyed it, but it only drew 2.53m and a 1.0/3 in the demo.  Relax people, it's already been renewed (c'mon, it's the CW!).

My Name is Earl,  the NBC network finale of Scrubs (soon to be appearing on an ABC network near you) and The Office all fared just a bit worse than they did in last week's overnight report.  The season finale of 30 Rock, however picked up a smidge in total viewers, though it's 18-49 numbers were off by half a ratings point from last week.

While DVR viewing is certainly having an impact, the dramatic drop off can't be completely ascribed to DVRs.  Grey's Anatomy had 15.6m viewers last night.  But at least half of the DVR viewers are already baked into the numbers.  So even if Grey's pulls 4 million live plus seven day DVR viewers they'll only gain back a couple million viewers at most which would put it at 17.6m.  Last year's overnight number for the comparable Thursday was 19.58 million, so it'll still be down 20 percent-ish over last year even after DVR is factored in, unless there was record-setting DVR viewing for it -- which we won't know for a couple of weeks. 

Grey's also was down in the 18-49, from a 7.8/21 to a 6.1/16.  They will make up a lot of ground here via the remaining couple million or so DVR viewers who'll almost all be in the 18-49 demographic.

CSI pulled 17.82 million and a 4.9/13, or the same demo numbers as LOST, which had about six million less viewers than CSI.  I still haven't watched last night's episode that was penned by the Two and a Half Men crew, but it's on the DVR and I will definitely check it out.

CBS's Survivor: Micronesia was down just a touch from last week with 11.98m viewers and a 4.0/12 in the 18-49 demographic.  It easily won the 8pm hour.   Last night's Without a Trace was up almost 3 million total viewers versus last week with 14.6 million, but LOST still easily beat its 3.3/9 in the demo.

Last night's details:

Time Network Show Viewers (Millons) 18-49 Rating/Share
8:00 CBS Survivor: Micronesia 11.98 4.1/12
  FOX Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader 7.73 1.9/6
  ABC Ugly Betty 7.99 2.4/7
  NBC My Name is Earl 6.08 2.6/8
  CW Smallville 3.96 1.5/5
8:30 NBC Scrubs 5.37 2.5/7
9:00 CBS CSI 17.82 4.9/13
  FOX Don't Forget the Lyrics 6.22 2.0/5
  ABC Grey's Anatomy 15.60 6.1/16
  NBC The Office 7.22 3.6/9
  CW Supernatural 2.53 1.0/3
9:30 NBC 30 Rock 5.61 2.1/5
10:00 CBS Without a Trace 14.60 3.8/10
  ABC LOST 11.28 4.9/13
  NBC ER 7.61 2.9/8

Nielsen Ratings Source: Nielsen Media Research. Full night's results available via Marc Berman/Mediaweek.

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