ABC beat Fox with a 4.5/12 in the key 18-49 demographic Thursday evening, helped by fresh episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, according to Nielsen fast nationals. It was the network's highest-rated Thursday night since season-premiere night in September, according to ABC.
ABC was the only network to crack 10 million viewers on average last night, drawing an 11.8 million P2+ average and peaking with a new episode of Grey's Anatomy in the 9 p.m. hour which grabbed 15.2 million viewers. That was a significant leap from last week when re-runs of Ugly Betty and Grey's put the network third behind Fox and NBC.
Without American Idol in the lineup, Fox dropped to a 3.3/9 for the evening. Hell's Kitchen in the 9 p.m. hour pulled a 3.5/9, also down from last week when Idol was the lead-in.
Fox still won the 8-9 hour with Bones pulling a 3.2/9. ABC dominated the 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. hours with a 5.8/14 for Grey's (the best hour average of the night) and then a 5.3/14 for Private Practice at 9. Private Practice posted a season high and gave ABC its highest rating for regular season programming in the 10 p.m. slot in nearly two years.
NBC finished third on the night with a 2.9/8, better than last week's 1.9/5 thanks to new episodes of The Office (4.3/11) at 9 and 30 Rock (3.0/7) at 9:30. CBS aired re-runs of its standard Thursday night lineup and finished fourth with a 2.2/6. They finished fourth or tied for fourth in every half-hour time slot on the night.
CW brought up the rear, finishing last in each time slot. The second half-hour of Smallville delivered the biggest number of the night for the network with a 1.6/4.