‘Survivor’ Wins 1st Night of Sweeps

CBS has convincing win to start sweeps; ABC places second with strong “Grey’s Anatomy” showing

All the major TV networks returned to original programming Thursday night to kick off May sweeps, but CBS was more than up to the challenge, with its “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” the night’s top show among adults 18-49 with a 4.0/13.

Survivor Heroes vs. Villains 4-29-10CBS, which won the night in viewers (13.6 million) and households (8.4/14) as well as the key 18-49 demographic (3.4/10) – its seventh straight Thursday win by those measures – also had the top program in total viewers with 10 p.m. drama “The Mentalist” (3.2/9, 14.69m).

In preliminary 18-49 averages for the night, CBS was followed by ABC (2.8/8), NBC (2.4/7), Fox (2.3/7) and The CW (1.3/4).

In total viewers, CBS was followed by ABC (7.7m), Fox (7.3m), NBC (5.0m) and The CW (2.8m).

HEALTHY RETURNS: Airing its first original episode since early April, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” jumped 153 percent from its lead-in at 8, a “Grey’s” repeat. With a 3.8/11 in the 18-49 demo – its highest in nearly two months – the drama was Thursday’s top scripted series in the demo for the 18th time in 19th original broadcasts.

BUILDING A ‘COMMUNITY’: NBC’s comedy lineup had a good night. “Community” (2.0/7, 4.6m) kicked things off at 8, up 25 percent week-to-week in both 18-49 and total viewers. It’s winning the slot among men 18-34. At 8:30, “Parks and Recreation” (2.0/6, 4.3m) retained 100 percent of its lead-in in the demo. At 9, “The Office” (3.6/11, 7.1m) saw week-to-week gains of 13 percent in 18-49 and 12 percent in total viewers. At 9:30, “30 Rock” (2.9/8, 5.7m) was up 16 percent in the demo. At 10 p.m., “The Marriage Ref” (2.0/6, 4.4 m) gained 5 percent in the demo from the previous week.

FEELING FLAT: On Fox, “Bones” (2.5/8, 9.1 million) was flat, while “Fringe” (2.0/6, 5.5 million) slid 5% with a musical episode. The CW’s “Vampire Diaries” (1.6/5, 3.3 million) held steady, beating ABC and NBC in its target demo of women 18-34 at 8 p.m. “Supernatural” slid 21% to a 1.1/3 with 2.3 million viewers.