- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A promising ‘Nine’

In ABC’s “The Nine,” nine persons survive an extended bank robbery and, in the process, form a bond.

It sounds simple, but the facts behind the new drama (premiering tonight at 10 after the season premiere of “Lost”) remain unknown.

What we’re sure of, however, is that we’d like to know more about not only what happened during the bank heist’s 52 grueling hours but how the people involved changed as a result.

“The Nine” corrals some familiar faces — among them Tim Daly (“Wings”), Scott Wolf (“Party of Five”), Kim Raver (“24”) and Chi McBride (“Boston Public”) — to tell a time-shifting story that never loses our interest.

The “Nine” in question meet randomly during a bungled bank heist but can’t seem to let each other go. Although some characters undergo significant life transformations after the heist, others appear to have had their anxieties reinforced.

It says plenty about the series from the brother-sister creative team of Hank Steinberg (“Without a Trace”) and K.J. Steinberg (“Judging Amy”) that when the original nine get together for the first time after the incident, we feel like we know them already.

Not bad for an hourlong premiere.

We don’t know the whole truth behind “Lost” (now in its third season). But with “The Nine,” it will be far dicier to keep what happened behind the bank’s doors a secret for very long.

Until then, expect the new show to keep us guessing for weeks, if not years, to come.

Christian Toto

New addition

“Grey’s Anatomy” has decided having a Dr. McDreamy simply isn’t enough. They want a Dr. McSteamy, too.

Eric Dane will join the cast of the hit ABC drama, reprising his role as plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Sloan, E! Online reports. Dr. Sloan is the ex-best friend of Dr. McDreamy, better known as Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). Sloan earned his moniker when Meredith (Ellen Pompeo), Izzie (District native Katherine Heigl) and their fellow female interns saw him stitching up his own face after Shepherd spied him flirting with Meredith and let him have it.

Sloan is a bad boy, having carried on an affair with Derek’s wife, Addison (Kate Walsh) — prompting the Shepherds’ cross-country move to Seattle from New York. No wonder Addison didn’t seem too unhappy when he showed up in her neonatal unit last season.

Mr. Dane most recently played Multiple Man in “X-Men: The Last Stand” and before that had a recurring stint as Phoebe’s boyfriend Jason on “Charmed.” The actor is married to Rebecca Gayheart (who portrays nosy TV news reporter Judy Nash on Fox’s “Vanished”).

CSI,’ ‘Grey’s‘ tops

Last week’s two most popular television shows aired at the same time, Associated Press reports.

Both CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” shared the same 10 p.m. Thursday time slot and the top of the Nielsen Media Research rankings. Yet “CSI” eked out a narrow victory with 23.7 million viewers compared to 23.4 million for “Grey’s.”

Only one other program, ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” reached more than 20 million viewers during the second week of the fall TV season.

The two top shows appeal to very different audiences. The soapy “Grey’s Anatomy” more than doubles the “CSI” audience among women aged 18-to-34-years-old, while the CBS forensics drama is a big hit among men over 50.

Meanwhile, two new shows are on their way to becoming hits: ABC’s “Ugly Betty” and NBC’s “Heroes” both did well in their debuts, AP reports, citing ratings data from Nielsen Media Research. Other new series have clearly not caught on, like Fox’s “Vanished” and NBC’s “Kidnapped.” A newly competitive Thursday also is hurting NBC’s ability to establish the comedies “My Name Is Earl” and “The Office” in new time slots that night.

CBS won the race for overall viewership for the second straight week, averaging 12.8 million viewers. ABC was second with 11.5 million viewers, NBC had 10.4 million viewers, Fox had 6.5 million, and the CW had 3.5 million.

After two weeks atop the evening-news ratings race and one week in second place, Katie Couric, for the first time, finished last. The “CBS Evening News” had 7.5 million viewers, while NBC’s “Nightly News” had 8.2 million and ABC’s “World News” had 7.6 million.

For the week of Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 23.7 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 23.4 million; “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 21.4 million; “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 17.9 million; and “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 17.7 million.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance from staff and wire reports.

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