The "Must See TV" lineup proved strong again for NBC on Thursday night.
The network's veteran series carried the night, as two
new sitcoms struggled to keep up.
Friends, which opened the season a week earlier
with record numbers, continued its hot streak by attracting 29 million viewers
and a 14.1/39 rating at 8 p.m. ET/PT, according to Nielsen Media Research
Friends is again the high-rated and most-watched show of the week and improved its adults 18-49 average by 21% from last season.
ER also had another strong
outing, averaging 26.4 million viewers and a 13.4/33 in adults 18-49.
Will & Grace scored a 11.2/27 in adults 18-49 and attracted 20.1 million viewers.
As for new series, Inside Schwartz again dropped off heavily from its Friends lead-in.
Inside Schwartz lost close to 9 million viewers
(20.3 million) and over four ratings points in adults 18-49 with a 10.2/26.
Scrubs, which actually debuted Tuesday with an impressive 15.4 million viewers and a 6.9/16, lost 4 million viewers from its Will & Grace lead-in averaging 16.2 million and an 8.7/21.
At CBS, a special Survivor: Africa preview episode failed to draw much of an audience.
The one-hour special attracted 10 million viewers and a 3.2/9 in adults
On the other hand, CSI continues to hold strong in its second season, averaging 19.3 million viewers and a 7.0/17 in adults 18-49.
Newcomer The Agency didn't fare as well at 10 p.m. The CIA drama posted a 3.3/8 in adults 18-49 and 9.3 million viewers. - Joe Schlosser