By Annie Barrett
Updated October 13, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT
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Thursday’s night faceoff between CSI and Grey’s Anatomy isn’t the only ”What do I watch?” quandary anymore. This Wednesday, Lost finished first in its 9 p.m. slot, but edged out second-place Criminal Minds (wha?) by only 200,000 viewers — which in the ratings universe translates to practically nothing. Lost‘s numbers are also way down from last season: between 4 and 5 million more people got revved up for season 2’s first few episodes than season 3’s.

So what’s going on? Is Criminal Minds that amazing, or is Lost losing some of its juice? I don’t want to suggest the show has (don’t say it… don’t say it…) maybe jumped the Dharma Initiative-logo-imprinted shark, but there has to be some reason for the dip in ratings. Is it that the slew of Others (like Elizabeth Mitchell, pictured with Matthew Fox) aren’t as compelling right off the bat as some of the more beloved but (so far this season) forgotten original survivors? Is it that viewers know they can watch the shows online? Or is the ratings scare a Dharma conspiracy intended to measure our reaction? Come on, lab rats, turn the TV back on. There’s a nice fish biscuit in it for you…

addCredit(“Lost: Mario Perez/ABC”)

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