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).