Scripted programs pay off


CBS swept all three hours of primetime on Thursday as it programmed brand new episodes of two of its top dramas following a kick-off by its “Survivor” reality franchise. “CSI” returned with 97% of its pre-strike HH ratings and 94% of 18-49 according to calculations from the network’s number crunchers. That made it easily the most-watched program of the night with 20.4 million viewers, handily beating Fox’s “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader” in the 9-10 pm ET-PT time period.

“Without a Trace,” also a new episode, followed to win the 10-11 time period with 15.4 million viewers. “Survivor: Micronesia” won the 8-9 hour for CBS with 12.8 million viewers. Paris Hilton’s guest appearance on NBC’s “My Name is Earl” produced only a 3rd place showing in the 8-9 hour for HH and total viewers, although it pushed ahead of another hour of Fox’s “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader” in 18-49 ratings.

For the night, CBS was first in households (9.9/16), viewers (16.22 million), adults 25-54 (6.0/15) and adults 18-49 (4.6/13). Fox was 2nd, followed by NBC and ABC.

RBR/TVBR observation: The CSI franchise still has power. The Eye network has to be pleased that it managed to sign William Petersen to return for a 9th season on the original CSI, although committed for fewer episodes so he can do other things. If you’re keeping track, “CSI: Miami” will be going into its 7th season and “CSI: NY” its 5th. It is possible to have too much of a good thing and wear out a franchise, so Les Moonves nixed our suggestion of “CSI: Boise.”