It was steady as she goes for the networks Thursday, as newcomers such as "FlashForward" and "Community" maintained their week-to-week audiences level in respectable fashion.
Indeed, "Community" actually built in its third week on the air, making the Joel McHale half-hour a strong contender for a full-season order from NBC.
Overall, ABC easily won the night in adults 18-49, while CBS came in first during every half-hour of the night among total viewers.
Here’s a first look at the numbers:
–ABC’s "Flash Forward," with its big concept and sci-fi roots, is the kind of show that could have easily tumbled in its second week. It didn’t. Instead, "FF" (3.7/11) maintained nicely, falling a modest 8 percent in the demo and once again winning the 8 p.m. hour in adults 18-49 (tied with "Survivor"). It’s too soon to predict the show’s ultimate trajectory, but it’s a good start.
The Alphabet also had good news elsewhere: "Grey’s Anatomy" (6.0/15) was off just 10 percent from its big two-hour premiere last week, and convincingly won the demo. And a 10, "Private Practice" (4.5/13) began its new season by soaring 36 percent above its premiere audience last year (when it aired on Wednesday) and earning its best overall ratings since February.
–CBS began the night with "Survivor" (3.7/11, 11.73) ranking first in viewers and, as noted, tied in the demo after last week ceding the hour to "FF".
At 9 p.m., "CSI" (4.0/10, 15.6 million) stopped the bleeding: It dropped just 2 percent in the demo and won in viewers. (The viewer gap between "CSI" and "Grey’s" was less than 300,000 pairs of eyeballs, vs. a lead of a million for CBS last week).
"The Mentalist" (3.7/10, 15.18 million) is proving to be a perfect companion for "CSI," dominating the 10 p.m. hour in viewers and actually ticking up 3 percent in adults 18-49 vs. last week. Wonder what would happen if CBS switched "CSI" and
–NBC’s best news came in the 9 p.m. hour. "The Office" (3.7/10, 7.3 million) dipped just 5 percent week-to-week. And yet, despite a lower lead-in, newcomer "Community" (2.9/7, 5.8 million) ticked up 7 percent in the demo — a positive sign.
"Community" is also retaining just under 80 percent of its lead-in. That’s not amazing, but it’s acceptable and in line with the early days of "30 Rock" in the post-"Office" slot. Hard to see how NBC doesn’t keep this critically loved engine humming more more episodes beyond its 13-episode initial order.
From 8-9 p.m., "SNL Thursday" (1.8/5, 5.1 million) and "Parks and Recreation" (1.9/5, 4.6 million) were both up a tad vs. last week but still stuck in fourth.
The Jay Leno/ Future of Television Watch (TM) Sponsored by CBS’s "48 Hours":
1.6/4 in the demo, 5 million viewers. Tied for lowest demo rating. Total viewer number less than Leno’s "Tonight Show" average. America holds breath to see what, if anything, Leno says about Dave’s sexcapades tonight.
–Fox is steady but unsexy with "Bones" (2.6/8, 9 million) and "Fringe" (2.3/6, 6.2 million). Former show trended down a tick, the latter was even.
–Any remaining doubt that the CW will order a full season of "The Vampire Diaries" ended this morning. The show was up 4 percent in women 18-34 (2.7/8) and flat in all adults 18-34 (2.7/8). Prepare for some awesome vampire puns in the press release.
"Supernatural" also ticked up at 9 (1.3/4 in adults 18-34).