Thursday TV's Big Wrench in the Works: President George W. Bush. Yes, the farewell address is a tradition for the outgoing commander in chief, but wasn't it President Dwight Eisenhower who warned about the dangers of delivering one on William Petersen's farewell night on CSI?
How Did Bush Mess with CSI Exactly? Because of the Bush speech, the CSI repeat that aired at 8 p.m. bled into the new CSI at 9 p.m., and the new CSI bled into Eleventh Hour at 10 p.m. So, what's known right now is that from 9-10 p.m., per Nielsen estimates, CBS averaged 23.2 million viewers. From 9-10:30 p.m., the network scored 21.6 million. In any scenario, Petersen's last CSI (as a regular, that is—Gil Grissom did live, after all) packed the house, and won the night in total viewers and adults 18-49.
What About Patrick Swazye's Show? Through no fault of President Bush's, A&E said it wouldn't have estimates on the premiere of The Beast 'til the afternoon at the earliest.
Which 9 p.m. Show Lost Out—Grey's Anatomy or The Office? Neither.
ABC's Grey's (13 million) continued to slide in total viewers, but held steady in adults 18-49, even as CSI took first in that demo. Among women 18-34, it was dominant.
In its first new episode after winter break, NBC's The Office (8.3 million) was up a tad over its season average, and got a bunch of 18- to 34-year-old guys to watch the culmination of the Andy-Angela-Dwight love triangle. It also won its time slot among adults 18-34.
30 Rock Watch: Up from last week (6.6 million viewers versus 5.2 million); down about 25 percent in the 18-49 demo, and about 32 percent in the 18-34 demo from The Office. In short, it's had far, far worse nights.
Strength in Numbers: The introduction of Cosmic Boy and other Legion of Superheroes members helped lead CW's Smallville (4.3 million) to its biggest audience since early November, the network said. The show also did its anti-Gossip Girl thing, and won the 8 p.m. hour in men 18-34.
Also-Rans: ABC's Private Practice (8.7 million), NBC's ER (7 million), NBC's My Name Is Earl (6 million) and the CW's Supernatural (3 million). CBS' Eleventh Hour sorta averaged 15.5 million from 10-11 p.m., but sorta didn't since Petersen's last CSI scene aired early in that hour.