According to Zap2it.com, CBS made a significant, symbolic victory last night:
In a much vaunted head-to-head match-up the third season premiere of “Without a Trace” trounced the eleventh season premiere of “ER.” For the first time in the show’s long and esteemed history, an original episode of “ER” lost to another drama in total viewers.
To be fair, though, ER is in its 11th season and has all but one member of its original cast. It’s not surprising that the show is losing some of its ratings power. That said, ER is still one of the highest rated dramas on television… and that it still draws those numbers after so many years and so many cast changes is amazing.
WITHOUT A TRACE is a good show…but you can’t discount the benefits of having CSI, the highest rated drama on television, as your lead in. Think how many comedies survived simply by following FRIENDS, SEINFELD or RAYMOND…and then died when moved elsewhere.
The victory is an important one image-wise for CBS… which for years was considered the nursing home network. CBS has clearly and decisively won its long battle to re-establish itself as the Tiffany network.