December 13, 2008

Fishburne on ‘CSI’ starts off strong

The CBS crime drama CSI earned its highest ratings since its season debut this week with the debut of U.S. actor Laurence Fishburne, figures show.

The Hollywood Reporter said Friday the Matrix actor's first appearance on the Thursday drama helped CSI draw 20.6 million viewers and a 5.7 preliminary rating in the 18-49 adult demographic.

Fishburne has been tabbed to replace CSI mainstay William Peterson as the show's lead. Thursday's episode is part of a set of episodes aimed at integrating the veteran movie actor into the successful series while allowing Peterson to slowly exit the show.

The Reporter said the success of the episode helped CBS win every time slot on the night, beating out reruns of ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.

CSI lead-in, Survivor, nabbed 13.2 million viewers and a 4.1 preliminary rating in the key 18-49 age group, while Eleventh Hour helped CBS take the 10 p.m. slot with 13.4 million viewers and a 3.8 rating.

The ratings for Hour marked the freshman's series' best performance to date, the Reporter said.