Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Grey's Anatomy" Honored By GLAAD

The irony builds as "Grey's Anatomy" -- a show currently famous for the anti-gay slur of one of its stars directed at another of the show's stars both behind the scenes and at the Golden Globes -- yes, that very same show is nominated for GLAAD awards. Americablog pointed me on Friday to a silly item by Perez Hilton that claimed the Isaiah Washington controversy (he called costar TR Knight a faggot, prompting Knight to come out; then Washington denied saying it at the Globes and now he's apologized and is meeting with GLSEN to make amends and the network has officially chastized him). Hilton claimed the show is being hurt in the ratings and that before this the show "dominated" its timeslot. Hardly. "Grey's Anatomy" was going head-to-head with "CSI" and the fact that it's been beating "CSI" this season has astonished everyone -- ABC was hoping for a solid second and to chip away at "CSI's lead. But by no means has "Grey's Anatomy" dominated the timeslot.

Here are the ratings this fall:

9/29 (season premiere)
Grey's Anatomy -- 23.31 million
CSI -- 23.49 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 22.46 million
CSI -- 21.22 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 22.82 million
CSI -- 21.58 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 21.93 million
CSI -- 20.2 million

Grey's Anatomy (rerun)-- 12.21 million
CSI (rerun) -- 16.63 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 20.96 million
CSI -- 20.53 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 20.57 million
CSI -- 20.47 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 20.96 million
CSI -- 23.83 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 18.46 million
CSI -- 17.13 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 24.27 million
CSI (rerun) -- 15.88 million

Grey's Anatomy (rerun) -- 10.5 million
CSI -- 23.72 million

Grey's Anatomy (rerun) -- 10.04 million
CSI (rerun) -- 15.08 million

Grey's Anatomy (rerun) -- 9.97 million
CSI (rerun) -- 13.16 million

Grey's Anatomy (rerun) -- 5.8 rating (viewer totals not available)
CSI (rerun) -- 8.9 rating

Grey's Anatomy (rerun) -- 10.24 million
CSI -- 25.91 million

Grey's Anatomy -- 22.94 million
CSI (rerun) -- 11.87

Grey's Anatomy -- 21.89 million
CSI -- 21.28 million

In short, it's clearly a tightly fought race between two massive hits. "Grey's Anatomy" is a much younger show that is still growing, "CSI" is a mainstay that repeats much better because it features self-contained mysteries rather than being a serialized drama. In head to head with new episodes, "Grey's Anatomy" won 7 times and CSI won twice. But CSI has fewer repeats and if you count every week of the season (even when one or both of the shows is a rerun), "Grey's has won 9 weeks and CSI has won eight; that's what I call a horse race. The margin of victory for the winner has often been razor-thin. On January 4, CSI had the single highest rated episode, 25.91 million viewers opposite a "GA" rerun. "Grey's" highest rated episode was 11/30 opposite a rerun when it hit 24.27 million. You cna slice and dice these numbers any way you want, but the truth is that "Grey's Anatomy" has done remarkably well and has been beating "CSI" head to head most of the season. (It used to air on Sunday nights.) But its margin of victory has often been very thin indeed, and the ratings on 1/18 were not telling in the least of any trend or fallout.

Besides, why would there be a fallout? Isaiah Washington is way down the list in importance in the ensemble cast. Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy) and Ellen Pompeo (the title character Dr. Meredith Grey) and central. TR Knight (the actor who came out) was the heart of the show a la Noah Wylie on "ER." Sandra Oh (who dates Washington's character) is right up there with the no-nonsense Chandra Wilson. Both of them have been nominated for Emmys and Oh won. And then in order of importance you have Washington and Justin Chambers and Kate Walsh and James Pickens Jr. all bunched together. The idea that a stupid, offensive comment by a secondary character would turn people off to a show that has been demonstrably gay friendly in its storylines is just silly. If anyone DID turn the show off because of it, they would surely be balanced by the people who tuned IN to check out TR Knight. Personally, I loved the suggestion online that Washington's character should come out and he be forced to play a gay man for the rest of the series. It makes no sense given his character but it would be deliciously appropriate punishment.

But again, Hilton's claim that CSI is suddenly closing in on Grey because of all this? That just isn't true. CSI is basically where it's been all season long.

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