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Ratings report: 'ER' beats premieres of 'Life on Mars' and 'Eleventh Hour'

October 10, 2008 | 12:52 pm

Er_nbc In its 15th and final season, NBC’s “ER” isn’t the fearsome competitor it once was. But on Thursday it looked tough enough against two new rivals, both Americanized versions of British cop dramas.

The 10 p.m. premieres of ABC’s “Life on Mars” –- an adaptation of the BBC cult hit about a time-traveling detective –- and CBS’ “Eleventh Hour” –- a sci-fi investigations drama imported from ITV –- tied with 11.6 million total viewers apiece, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. “ER” was third with 9.3 million.

But here’s the surprise: The aging “ER” narrowly won among the crucial demographic of adults ages 18 to 49 (3.9 rating/10 share versus 3.8/10 for “Mars”), suggesting that the ABC series faces a tough climb in luring those all-important young viewers. The fact that “Mars” –- ABC’s only new scripted series this fall -- fought to a draw with “Eleventh Hour” probably also means that the two similarly themed shows are cannibalizing each other’s audience at that hour.

Meanwhile, NBC’s new sitcom “Kath & Kim” –- an update on the Australian comedy –- won a distant second place in its time slot (3.2/9; 7.5 million viewers overall), while NBC’s premiere of “Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday” was a surprisingly competitive No. 3 in a rough 9:30 time period (5.0/12; 10.6 million overall).

CBS easily won the night in both viewers and young adults, thanks to the strength of “Survivor: Gabon” (13.3 million) and the ninth-season premiere of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (23 million).

-- Scott Collins

(Photo courtesy NBC)