By Victor Balta / Herald Columnist
I t’s a classic clash of titans. A veritable Thursday Night Fight.
In this corner, the proven veteran, “CSI.”
In the other corner, the upstart young sensation that’s catching the world by storm, “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Round 1 of this heavyweight match takes place at 9 p.m. Thursday, with subsequent rounds happening weekly for the rest of the TV season.
The battle, which pits CBS’s “CSI,” the most watched drama on television, against ABC’s “Grey’s,” which ranks third on that list, is the biggest of several scheduling conflicts that TV fans will have to deal with every night of the week.
Here’s a tip: Invest in TiVo.
It’s not the first time two big shows have occupied the same time slot. “American Idol” and “Lost,” anyone?
Here are the toughest duels of the week, and which side of the fence you should land on, if you’re on it:
The new CW network (KSTW-TV) put one of its jewels, the fantastic, heart-warming family comedy, “Everybody Hates Chris,” on the schedule at 7 p.m. Sunday.
The problem is that NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” won’t be over until at least 8 p.m. Your best bet is to hope the game is already a blowout.
Winner: “Everybody Hates Chris.” There will be highlights of the game and none of the show.
NBC’s biggest bet of the new season, Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” was originally scheduled to go against “CSI” during the 9 p.m. Thursday hour. But when ABC put “Grey’s” there, NBC packed up and moved to a less crowded neighborhood, at 10 p.m. Monday on KING-TV.
Alas, the network ran into another one of those pesky “CSIs,” as in “CSI: Miami” on KIRO-TV.
Winner: “Studio 60.” There are at least a dozen other “CSIs” to choose from.
Four returning shows in this hour have tremendous and loyal followings, and NBC has dropped its new drama, “Friday Night Lights” on top of the heap. “Dancing With the Stars” (KOMO-TV) ranked seventh among all shows last season. “House” (KCPQ-TV) was 11th and “NCIS” (KIRO-TV) came in 12th. The CW’s “Gilmore Girls” was one of the most successful shows on The WB, which became one half of the new network, with a devoted following.
Winner: “House,” by a thin thread.
It’s possible that being the show after “Lost” on ABC doesn’t guarantee success. Just ask fans of “Invasion.” Still, it isn’t a bad place to be, and ABC’s new drama “The Nine” (KOMO-TV) could be a big hit with its suspenseful premise and terrific ensemble cast. It’s going up against yet another “CSI: NY” (KIRO-TV) and NBC’s new drama “Kidnapped” (KING-TV), a decent attempt at suspense that gets left way behind in this bunch.
Winner: “The Nine.” This thriller could be just what we need after years of forensic crime procedurals.
Thursday, 8 p.m.
The undercard for the 9 p.m. main event features an interesting three-way battle of its own. CBS’s perennial hit “Survivor” (KIRO-TV) is now facing the two funniest shows on television, “My Name is Earl” and “The Office” (KING-TV), and ABC has made an even bigger mess of things with “Ugly Betty,” a wonderful new hourlong comedy that could provide TV’s newest most lovable character. It’s a good thing Fox’s sitcoms “‘Til Death” and “Happy Hour” are terrible.
Winner: Many will be cheering on Oak Harbor native Brad Virata on “Survivor: Cook Islands,” but I have to stick with “Earl” and “The Office.”