ABC Tops Weak Thursday

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

Published on .

Blame it on the holidays, the writers strike, DVRs or even the Bears vs. Redskins NFL game on cable. For whatever the reason, the Thursday night Nielsen broadcast ratings were miserable for just about everybody except Barbara Walters (which only makes it worse).

So let's keep this brief. Most notices of record lows exclude Thanksgiving airings: ABC won the night among adults 18 to 49 with "Ugly Betty" (series low 2.8) and "Grey's Anatomy" (series low 7.1).

At 10 p.m., "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2007" with "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling leading the list, won the hour with a 4.6 (up a steep 46% from last year). If only ABC could convince Rowling and Walters to team up every Thursday night after "Grey's."

CBS was second in the demo, but first in viewers, with an average "Survivor: China" (4.5), "CSI" (a season low 5.4) and "Without a Trace" (a season low 3.2).

NBC's "My Name is Earl" (3.0) and "30 Rock" (2.7) posted gains after last week's season lows, but a repeat of "The Office" (2.5) resulted in "Scrubs" hitting a series low (2.4) and "ER" tied its series low (3.1).

Fourth-place Fox had "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" (2.3) and "Don't Forget the Lyrics" (2.1), both dropping from last week.

The CW aired repeats.
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