Overnight Ratings: CBS Takes the Lead on Thursday

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CBS dominated Thursday night thanks to a new episode of CSI that featured the departure--temporarily we're told--of lead character Gil Grissom who is played by William L. Petersen.

The 9-10 offering averaged an 8.3 rating/20 share in the 18-49 demo, more than the next two networks combined in the time period.  CSI numbers were a season high in 18-49's

NBC was second on the night in the Nielsen overnight ratings with a 4.1/10, thanks to strong performances of its much-nominated--several nods for the Emmys, the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards--8 to 9 p.m. comedies The Office (4.3/12) and My Name Is Earl (4.3/11), plus the resurgent ER at 10 p.m. which was the top-rated show at a 4.6/12.

ABC followed relatively close behind with a 3.8/10 for a new Ugly Betty and back-to-back repeats of Grey's Anatomy.

Fox was fourth in the demo with a 1.9/5, getting little production out of new episodes of 'Til Death (2.0/5) and the just-cancelled O.C. (1.7/4).

The CW's rating and share was halved from its strong 2.2/6 performance for Wednesday's Beauty and the Geek debut, averaging a 1.1/3 for repeats of Smallville.