The Hollywood Reporter said Friday the "Matrix" actor's first appearance on the Thursday drama helped "CSI" draw 20.6 million viewers and a 5.7 preliminary rating in the 18-49 adult demographic.
Fishburne has been tabbed to replace "CSI" mainstay William Peterson as the show's lead. Thursday's episode is part of a set of episodes aimed at integrating the veteran movie actor into the successful series while allowing Peterson to slowly exit the show.
The Reporter said the success of the episode helped CBS win every time slot on the night, beating out reruns of ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice."
"CSI" lead-in, "Survivor," nabbed 13.2 million viewers and a 4.1 preliminary rating in the key 18-49 age group, while "Eleventh Hour" helped CBS take the 10 p.m. slot with 13.4 million viewers and a 3.8 rating.
The ratings for "Hour" marked the freshman's series' best performance to date, the Reporter said.