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Ratings: ‘Flash’ Moves in Reverse, But Seinfeld Goes Up

ABC’s once promising freshman drama doesn’t have much heat. NBC, meanwhile, might have a keeper with ”The Marriage Ref“

ABC’s "FlashForward" returned from an extended hiatus Thursday to not-hot numbers, while Jerry Seinfeld’s "The Marriage Ref" seems to be holding on at NBC.

On an atypical night — CBS aired NCAA basketball coverage, while Fox’s increasingly potent dramas were in repeats — nothing particularly sparked with viewers. But there were still a few interesting numbers.

First up: "Flash Forward," ABC’s big gun for the fall that’s suffered all manner of creative reboots since its debut, not to mention a 3 1/2 month hiatus. It earned a 1.9/6 in adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m., beating only a repeat "Bones" on Fox (1.5/5) among the Big Four. 

That number was off 10 percent from "FF’s" last original on Dec. 3, and the lowest rating yet for the show. The good news: The show maintained its audience over its two-hour run, and was competitive with NBC’s first-run comedies in the 8 p.m. hour (the show’s normal timeslot). It also beat NBC in adults 25-54.

ABC also points out the "FF" does particularly well in DVR homes, so the actual viewership could be notably higher when final figures arrive.

That said, "FF" remains a longshot for a second season, barring some growth in the next few weeks or a particularly weak development season at ABC. Most of the network’s drama hopes right now seem to be resting with "V," which — judged by the heavy amount of promotion from ABC — seems to be more a priority for the network right now.

Meanwhile, NBC has to be pleased with how "The Marriage Ref" performed Thursday. The Seinfeld panel show earned a 2.8/8 at 10 p.m., up 8 percent vs. last week.

True, CBS’s "The Mentalist" was off the air, and "Private Practice" was a repeat. But up is up, and if the show settles in at around this number in coming weeks, NBC will almost certainly be ordering more "Ref."