‘Survivor’ Still Strong, but Fox’s ‘Past Life’ DOA

CBS’s reality franchise returns to solid numbers. New dramas on Fox and ABC aren’t so lucky

Last Updated: February 12, 2010 @ 12:25 PM

 "Survivor" still seems to have immunity from ratings erosion.

CBS’s reality pioneer returned for its 20th cycle Thursday with a two-hour premiere that managed to show a modest gain from last winter’s premiere — and beat "Grey’s Anatomy" in the process.

An all-star edition of "Survivor" averaged a 4.6 rating/13 share among adults 18-49 from 8-10 p.m. Thursday, according to preliminary national Nielsen data. That’s up 2 percent vs. last February’s one-hour debut (4.4/13).

During the 9 p.m. hour, "Survivor" averaged a 4.5 in the demo, just ahead of ABC’s "Grey’s Anatomy," which dipped to a series-low 4.3/11.

In overall viewers, "Survivor" notched an audience of 14.2 million, up 4 percent from last winter. It was also the biggest overall audience for any "Survivor" episode since December 2007.

The strong "Survivor" return continues a recent trend toward veteran reality shows serving as comfort food for viewers. Series such as "The Bachelor," "The Biggest Loser" and "Big Brother" have been showing Nielsen gains over the past year as viewers seek out familiar franchises.

Elsewhere in the ratings Thursday, Fox’s "Past Life" bombed in its official series premiere, averaging a 1.4/4 in the demo, losing 30 percent of its repeat "Bones" lead-in. Based on these numbers, we feel safe in saying that "Past Life" will have a short life on Fox — and then quietly fade away.

We’d like to take this moment to once again suggest to TPTB at Fox that they replace scheduled episode of "Past Life" with the never-seen episodes of "Still Life," a very cool family drama from talent "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Marti Noxon.

Over at ABC, "The Deep End" (1.5/4) was up 15 percent– no original "Bones" competition — but remained firmly en route to its likely demise.

NBC’s comedies were basically flat for the night.