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'Grey's' wins back some viewership

September 27, 2008|Scott Collins

ABC can breathe a sigh of relief. "Grey's Anatomy" returned for its fifth season with a big ratings win, even though it happened on a Thursday that was pretty unimpressive for the networks all around.

"Grey's" struggled in last year's strike-plagued season, so the night's biggest question was whether fans would return. They did: The two-hour season premiere was the night's most-watched show, hauling in 18.3 million viewers, according to early data from Nielsen Media Research.

But the medical drama slipped 18% compared with last year's opener among viewers aged 18 to 49. And at 8 p.m., "Ugly Betty" slumped to its lowest premiere numbers ever (9.8 million viewers).

NBC had another tough night. "My Name Is Earl" gathered an anemic 6.4 million viewers and delivered its lowest premiere rating ever in 18 to 49. The one-hour Season 5 launch of "The Office" held up better (9.2 million) but was still off compared with last year.

-- Scott Collins

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