This Thursday's ratings highlights:

" American Idol's first results show of the new season topped the 8 o'clock hour with an audience of 24.17 million total viewers. Placing second, Survivor: Fiji (13.59 million) was down almost three mil week-to-week.

" Each NBC laffer lost heads: Earl (8.7 mil, -440K), Office (8.24 mil, -660K), Scrubs (5.7 mil, -500K) and 30 Rock (4.58 mil, -380K).

" The big news came at 9 pm, when the conclusion of the burning ferry/sunken Mer'ry saga netted Grey's Anatomy its second-largest audience ever, 27.29 million (a surge of 1.7 mil from last week). Those numbers are only bested by last year's après-Super Bowl episode. Maybe the spin-off should star lucky charms Kyle Chandler and JDM, hmm? UPDATE: That was also ABC's largest audience in the Thursday 9 pm hour with series programming in more than six and a half years (since a May 2000 Millionaire).

" Also airing at 9, CSI (21.59 million) slipped 880,000, while The O.C. (6.67 mil) left on a (season) high note.

" Oprah's so-much-better-than-Babs' Oscars special was No. 1 at 10, with an audience of 15.78 million (a tally tempered by significant tune-out once Julia and George's frothy banter ended). Shark followed with 14.26 mil (down 840 thou), while ER (9.92 mil) dropped 1.6 mil.