One night. Thirteen premieres. Loads of shocking results. All that, plus William Shatner.
Without further ado, our ratings rundown of Thursday's season openers:
• The Mentalist (15.3 million viewers, per prelim estimates): Um, isn't Grey's Anatomy or CSI supposed to be the night's most-watched show? Surprise.
• CSI (14.6 million) and Grey's Anatomy (14 million): Wanna hear something else surprising? We're seriously pondering the possibility that Jersey Shore has become a show-killer because both of these 9 p.m. series were way down from last fall with the same 18-to-49-year-olds who have made The Situation a multimillionaire.
For the record, Grey's, down or no, was the night's No. 1 demo hit. So, to clarify: Yes, it's still cool; it's just less cool. Either that, or all of its fans got DVRs over the summer.
• Justin Bieber (2.3 rating among teen girls): Yes, we know Bieber was a CSI guest star, and not his own show, but we couldn't let the moment pass without paying proper respect. Plus, we wanted to point out that Bieber didn't necessarily give CSI the audience win at 9 p.m., as the show outdrew Grey's on the strength of its appeal to oldsters, not tweens.
• Big Bang Theory (14 million): New night, new time—no problem. Fantastic, series-best debut. Wow.
• $#*! My Dad Says (12.5 million): CBS moved Survivor to Wednesdays to build a comedy block with this new Shatner show and Big Bang—and, for one night at least, the plan worked. Another wow.
• Bones (9.8 million): Didn't get blown up by Big Bang Theory. No small thing.
• Private Practice (9 million): On the plus side, it was the demo equal of The Mentalist at 10 p.m. On the down side, it used to be the demo superior.
• Outsourced (7.4 million), Community (5 million), 30 Rock (5.6 million): Outsourced was a product of its Office lead-in. Community made something out of nothing. And, yup, Tina Fey got beat down bad by Shatner.
• Fringe (5.8 million): On a night of nose-dive performances, this was one of the nose-dive-iest.
• My Generation (5.2 million): Whose generation? This twentysomething drama was shunned by its peers, and scored its "best" numbers among the AARP-eligible who pretty much watch anything.