'Survivor' Tops Repeat-Heavy Thursday

TVWeek's James Hibberd: Rated

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For the first time since its September premiere, CBS's "Survivor" was the highest-rated show Thursday night, leading CBS to victory amid a repeat-strewn field.

CBS won the night among total viewers and the adults 18 to 49 with "Survivor" (4.5 preliminary rating) then "CSI" and "Without a Trace" repeats (3.4 and 2.5, respectively).

NBC was second. With "The Office"(3.0) now in repeats until the strike ends, losing the night's tentpole comedy wounded the other shows. "My Name Is Earl" hit a series low (2.6), "30 Rock" and "ER" hit a season lows (2.5 and 3.4) and "Scrubs" was average (3.1). Somewhere "Office" showrunner Greg Daniels is holding a picket sign and going, "See?"

With ABC airing mainly repeats, Fox moved from its usual Thursday fourth place to third. The network aired well-rated crossover episodes of "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" (2.4) and "Don't Forget the Lyrics" (2.8).

ABC was fourth with repeats and "Big Shots" (a series low 2.4). The CW was fifth with repeats.

From the "Rated" mailbag: "Why did ABC air a new episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' on Thanksgiving and a repeat tonight?!"

Good question. Even with only a couple new episodes remaining of many shows due to the strike, ABC and CBS executives say they choose to air originals to low ratings on Thanksgiving for two reasons: To keep originals on during November sweeps and because it's the night before Black Friday, which is tremendously important to advertisers. So in this case, a ratings hit is worth the cost. The networks also expect DVR playback for originals aired on the holiday to be huge.
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