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Parks and Rec's Solid Approval Rating

So far, so good, ratings wise, for a trio of new Thursday night shows.

Parks and Recreation put up 30 Rock numbers. Harper's Island put up Eleventh Hour numbers. Southland, in the most impressive freshman performance of all, made an argument against Jay Leno at 10 p.m.

Let's break it down...

• The Amy Poehler comedy Parks and Recreation recorded 6.8 million viewers, per preliminary Nielsen estimates, about what 30 Rock is averaging for the season—and about 2 million more viewers than what Kath & Kim has been doing to for NBC at 8:30 p.m.

• The murder-mystery Harper's Island scored 10.5 milion viewers in the 10 p.m. time slot vacated last week by Eleventh Hour (11.2 million season average).

• The Benjamin McKenzie cop drama Southland got its money's worth out of helping further damage the reputation of the Los Angeles Times, scoring 9.7 million viewers, and, in the process, outdoing NBC's previous 10 p.m. occupant, the late ER (9.1 million season average).

Going head-to-head, Harper's and Southland not only traded blows, but wins. Harper's led the time slot in total viewers; Southland rated first in the Leno-designated hour among adults 18-49.

Of the three shows, Southland was the only one that built on, instead of squandering, its lead-in. Parks and Recreation aired, appropriately, given its bloodlines and sense of humor, after The Office (7.2 million). Harper's Island aired after CSI (night-best 16.4 million). Southland followed 30 Rock (6.8 million), but ended up leading it by about 3 million viewers.

As soon as next week, Parks and Recreation will get the chance to impress, a la Southland. That's when 30 Rock steals back Michael Scott for its exclusive own and leaves Poehler's crew to be married to My Name Is Earl.

No one said so far, so good was forever.

Elsewhere Thursday:

• The reason 30 Rock put up 30 Rock numbers last night was because it, too, aired after an all-new Office (7.9 million). Overall, the Steve Carell series won its time slot both times among adults 18-49.

• Compared to last week, Hell's Kitchen (7.6 million) was up; Suvivor: Tocantins (11.3 million) was even; Bones (8.9 million) was down.

Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice were in reruns again.

In the Motherhood (4.6 million) and Samantha Who? (4.9 million) reminded us that promising starts don't necessarily mean continued success.

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