Grey's Anatomy

ABC/DANNY FELD

You did not scream, "George is John Doe!" alone.

Grey's Anatomy's season-five finale shocked 17.5 million with its final, cliffhanger of a half-hour, per preliminary Nielsen estimates. Overall, the show averaged a night-best 16.4 million from 9 to 11 p.m.

Along the way, CSI got smacked, The Office got downsized and Southland just about got all the life sucked out of it.

So, all in all, George and Izzie had pretty good nights, after all.

More results from a finale-packed Thursday night:

Judged against last night's competition, CSI did well—its ninth-season closer was the second-biggest thing going (14.4 million). Judged against its own history, which is always a mean thing to do to a TV show, CSI fell a little short of last week (14.9 million), and a whole lot short of last year's eighth-season closer (18.1 million).

As big as Grey's was last night, it wasn't as big as either its season opener (18.5 million) or last year's season finale (18.1 million).

One reason Grey's and CSI were both bigger last spring was that the two shows' finales didn't air against each other, which sounds like smart thinking, but really was more of the result of the writers' strike.

30 Rock's third-season finale boasted about as many all-star music names as an American Idol finale. It did not, however, boast Idol finale ratings: 5.7 million, down 1 million from its season average.

Oddly—or maybe not, considering 30 Rock went up against both Grey's and CSI—the Tina Fey comedy ended its season about as big, or not, as it ended its second season, despite Tina Fey blowing up in the intervening months.

The Office's fifth-season finale (6.7 million—down about 1 million from last week and from its season average) seemed to suffer the same problem as 30 Rock's: too much Grey's and CSI.

Airing at 8 p.m., Bones' fourth-season ender (8.7 million) stayed out of the way of Grey's, but not the finale-approaching Survivor: Tocantins (12 million). Both shows ran about even with last week.

All competition considered, Ugly Betty (6.8 million) did all right—and gets next Thursday all to itself for its season finale.

• Danny Veltri gets a gold star for surviving Gordon Ramsay; Hell's Kitchen gets two gold stars for surviving the 9 p.m. time slot. Even opposite Grey's and CSI, the cooking show was up from last week: 7.4 million viewers.

The good news for CSI: NY was that it got to air its fifth-season closer after CSI. The bad news was it had to go up against the final hour of Grey's. The unsurprising finding was that a police procedural could draw a crowd during an air raid. CSI: NY ended up with 12.8 million viewers, slightly more than its season average.

The only good news for Southland (series-low 4.6 million) was that it gets to air its season finale next week.

Upon further review, My Name Is Earl (4.8 million) is not dragging down Parks and Recreation (4.2 million). The season-finale thing actually perked up Earl—and had the opposite effect on P&R.

Did Jimmy Olsen (or, rather, Not Jimmy Olsen) die in vain? Well, sorta. Smallville (3.2 million) got no bounce out of offing characters for its eighth-season finale.

At 9 p.m., Supernatural didn't get much of a finale bounce, either: 2.9 million viewers. But the fact that it was up even a tick might be one of the show's greater feats.

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