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Can ABC's Better Off Ted produce laughs as well as far-out inventions? Is Parks and Recreation worthy of Amy Poehler's talents? Does Harper's Island slay us? Now that TV's new spring shows have had a few weeks to strut their stuff, TVGuide.com's senior editors gauge their areas of excellence — and how they can improve.
Thursday's ratings rundown: 8 pm/ETAmerican Idol played to a special Thursday audience of 22.35 million total viewers, down 650K from last week's results show. CBS' NCAA tourney coverage placed second in every prime-time hour, averaging 10.12 million viewers across the night. ABC's brand-new In the Motherhood (6.72 mil) and returning Samantha Who? (6.53 mil, down 270 thou from Dec. 1, its last fresh outing) combined for third, but averaged 13 percent less than Ugly Betty's most recent numbers. Trailing NBC's pairing of Earl (5.87 mil) with an Office repeat, Smallville scored 3.74 mil, surging 14 percent week-to-week. 9 pmGrey's Anatomy enjoyed CSI's latest bye, topping the hour with 15.8 million viewers, up 10 percent. Hell's Kitchen nipped at basketball's heels, placing third with 10.95 mil. Both NBC's The Office (8.45 mil, +500K) and 30 Rock (7.17 mil, +150K) saw gains, while Supernatural (3.17 mil) was flat. (Be sure to check out next week's high-sterical promo!) 10 pmWith CBS' Eleventh Hour still shot-clock-blocked, Private Practice again claimed No. 1 with an audience of 10.48 mil, up 470 thou. ER gained 700K but still trailed hoops, delivering 10.16 mil.
American Idol8 pm/ET FOXWhich singers have a mojo for Motown? Our toned-up and tuned-in Top 10 mowed down Motown last night, singing classic R&B staples in a tribute to "50 Years of Motown." But America has the final say, the votes are tallied, and the contestants will discover who goes and who stays (but probably after an irritatingly placed commercial) in tonight's supplemental results show. The Motown theme will continue with genre giant Smokey Robinson performing, and past Idol winner Ruben Studdard rendering his single "Together."Read on for previews of NCAA Basketball Tournament, 30 Rock, Super Botox Me, In the Motherhood and Live from Lincoln Center.