via ABC press release.
ABC Wins the Opening Thursday of the Season in Viewers and Key Adults, The Net's First Total Viewer Victory on a Season-Opening Thursday in 8 Years
ABC is Up from the Year-Ago Night in Both Total Viewers and Adults 18-49
Drawing its Biggest Audience Since January and Top Adult 18-49 Number Since November, "Ugly Betty" Opens its Third Season a Strong No. 1 in Key Demos
In its Fifth-Season Premiere, ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" Generates its Top Numbers In Nearly 11 Months, Standing as TV's Highest-Rated Scripted Telecast Since February
"Grey's" Marks its 41st Original Airing as Thursday's No. 1 TV Show in Adults 18-49 Thursday Night (8:00-11:00 p.m.)
ABC dominated the opening Thursday of the season among Total Viewers (15.5 million) and across each of the key Adult demographics: AD18-34 (6.3/18), AD18-49 (6.0/15) and A25-54 (6.2/15). The Net bested second-place CBS on the evening by 3.8 million viewers and by 58% in Adults 18-49 (CBS = 11.7 million and 3.8/10). ABC's Thursday was the highest-rated night for any net so far this season in the key young adult sales demo.
* ABC's numbers were up over the same night a year ago in both Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 (14.5 million and 5.8/15 on 9/27/07).
* It was the first time that ABC has won the opening Thursday of a season in Total Viewers in 8 years (since 10/5/00) and just the second time since at least 1991 - going back to the start of Nielsen's electronic database.
"Ugly Betty" (8:00-9:00 p.m.)
From 8:00-9:00 p.m. ABC's "Ugly Betty" opened its third season a definitive No. 1 in its time period among Adults 18-34 (3.4/11), beating CBS' second-place "Survivor: Gabon" premiere by 26% (2.7/9) and third-place NBC's opener of "My Name is Earl" by 31% (2.6/8). Asserting itself in the hour among its core audience of Women 18-34, "Betty" defeated second-place CBS' "Survivor" franchise by a best-ever 69% (5.4/16 vs. 3.2/10). The show earned a solid second in the hour to CBS' "Survivor" in Total Viewers (9.8 million) and Adults 18-49 (3.3/9), leading third-place NBC's season opener of "My Name is Earl" by wide margins ("Earl" = 6.4 million and 2.7/8).
* "Ugly Betty" generated its biggest audience since early January and its top Adult 18-49 number since last November - since 1/10/08 and 11/15/07, respectively. It was the series' highest-rated telecast with Women 18-34 in exactly 1 year - since 9/27/07.
"Grey's Anatomy" (9:00-11:00 p.m.)
Thursday's No. 1 TV program in Total Viewers (18.3 million) and Adults 18-49 (7.3/18) on its fifth-season premiere, ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" opened as the highest-rated premiere so far this season in the key young adult sales demo, outdelivering the second-highest-rated season opener by a margin of 30% (Fox's "House" on 9/16/08 = 5.6/16). The ABC medical drama marked its 41st straight original telecast as Thursday's No. 1 TV show in Adults 18-49 - No. 1 on every single original airing since premiering on the evening in 2006. In its 9:00-11:00 p.m., "Grey's" beat its nearest time-period competition by 7.2 million viewers (18.3 million vs. 11.1 million - CBS) and by 78% in Adults 18-49 (7.3/18 vs. 4.1/10 - NBC).
* Grey's represents TV's most-watched scripted series telecast since early-April (4/10/08 - CBS' "C.S.I.") and highest-rated among Adults 18-49 since the beginning of February (2/5/08 - Fox's "House" coming out of "American Idol").
* In Total Viewers and Adults 18-49, "Grey's Anatomy" turned in its strongest performance in nearly 11 months - since 11/15/07.
Please note: Based on last season ('07-08), "Grey's Anatomy" is the most recorded and played back program on all of TV, as the show gained +2.1 million viewers and grew by +1.1 rating points in Adults 18-49 (+13%) from its first reported Live + Same Day number to its Live + 7 Day number. With current DVR penetration nearing 28% this season, up from about 19% at the same point a year ago, "Grey's" will see even greater increases in viewership this season from the initially reported next-day overnight ratings to the final numbers including all DVR playback.