A possible elimination game in the National League Championship Series -- the Phillies beat the Giants and forced a Game 6 -- improved FOX's ratings on Thursday, but a second straight week of rising numbers helped "CSI" return to its position as Thursday's most watched show, contributing to comfortable CBS wins.
In other ratings tidbits, NBC's "30 Rock" didn't carry over last week's live-show momentum, while The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" returned after a one-week hiatus with strong numbers.
For the night, CBS averaged a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49, beating the 2.8 rating for FOX in the key demographic. ABC was a solid third with a 2.6 rating, topping NBC's 2.1 rating and the 1.3 rating for The CW.
Overall, CBS averaged an estimated 13.625 million viewers viewers an an 8.3 rating/14 share. FOX was a distant second with a 5.7/9 and 9.3 million viewers. ABC's 5.1/8 and 7.66 million viewers finished third, topping the 3.0/5 and 4.785 million viewers for NBC. The CW was fifth with 3.214 million viewers and a 1.9/3.
8 p.m. -- CBS started the night in first with "The Big Bang Theory" (12.94 million viewers and a 4.0 demo rating) and "$#*! My Dad Says" (10.91 million and a 3.1 demo). FOX's baseball coverage was second with a 5.9/10 and a 2.8 demo rating, comparable to a good performance from "Bones." NBC's "Community" (4.56 and a 1.9 demo) and "30 Rock" (5.26 million viewers and a 2.2 demo rating) returned to their normal middling numbers after last week's boost. ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" repeat finished fourth overall and fifth in the demo. The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" delivered 3.58 million viewers for fifth and finished fourth in the demo with a 1.6 rating.
9 p.m. -- "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" averaged 14.73 million viewers to rule the 9 p.m. hour and rank as Thursday's most watched show, also averaging a 3.3 demo rating. ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" was second with 10.79 million viewers and won the demo with a 3.9 rating. FOX's baseball averaged 8.94 million viewers and a 2.8 demo, far above the network's usual "Fringe" performance. NBC finished fourth with "The Office" (6.82 million and a 3.4 demo) and "Outsourced" (4.94 million and a 2.3 demo). The CW's "Nikita" averaged 2.845 million viewers in fifth.
10 p.m. -- "The Mentalist" completed CBS' primetime sweep with 14.22 million viewers and also won the hour with a 2.9 demo rating. ABC's "Private Practice" was second with 7.82 million viewers. On NBC, "The Apprentice" averaged only 3.57 million viewers.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change, particularly in the case of live events.
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.