Guest Star Seinfeld Gooses '30 Rock' Season Premiere

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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NBC's "30 Rock" returned last night, featuring a much-ballyhooed guest appearance by Jerry Seinfeld that gave the series a wholly respectable Nielsen bump.

"Rock" earned a series-high 3.4 rating among adults 18 to 49 in preliminary ratings, maintaining its "My Name Is Earl" lead-in. The show was up 17% from its Wednesday night premiere last fall.

For the night, CBS once again edged out ABC, whose "Grey's Anatomy" was the highest-rated program with a 7.4. However, that's its lowest-ever original Thursday score.

Networks are pointing to baseball playoff games as having dented viewership across the board and, sure enough, nearly everybody is down from last week.

Winning the night, CBS had "Survivor: China" (4.4, down 4 percent), "CSI" (6.3, down 23 percent) and "Without a Trace" (3.8, down 19%). ABC pointed out that the gap between "Grey's" and "CSI" went back to its usual width last season, after the procedural closed in on "Grey's" last week.

ABC, placing a very close second, had "Ugly Betty," down 13% (3.4); "Grey's," off 16%; and the second episode of "Big Shots" (3.7), down 18% from its debut.

In third place, NBC had "My Name Is Earl" (3.4); "30 Rock" (3.4); "The Office" (4.5), down 12 percent; and "ER" (3.7), down 10%.

The CW's "Smallville" held roughly steady (1.8) while the premiere of "Supernatural" was down 29% from last year (1.2).

Fox was fourth with "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" (2.3) and "Don't Forget the Lyrics" (1.8).
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