Primetime Ratings: American Idol Down But Still Strong

Fox Wins Tuesday Night on First One-Hour Idol

Fox continues to move along smartly under Idol power, but at a slower pace than in previous seasons.

American Idol

In its first one-hour outing of the season, Fox's American Idol averaged an 11.7 rating/29 share in the 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research overnights. That was good enough to give Fox an easy win on the night but down from the 13.3 rating/33 share it averaged on a comparable Tuesday last season.

For the night, Fox averaged an 8.4/20, down considerably from the similar early season Tuesday last season, when it averaged a 12.3/30. One of the differences is that last season, the show led into a new episode of House, which averaged a powerhouse 11.2/27.

In this strike-addled season, House was a repeat and averaged a 5.1/12.

NBC was a respectable second with a 4/10, led by a new Law & Order: Special Victims Unit at 10 p.m., which averaged a 4.6/12. NBC also got solid numbers out of Biggest Loser, which built every half-hour, including against Idol, and ended with a 4.9/12 in its last half-hour.

CBS was third with a 2/5 led by a repeat of NCIS from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. (2.1/5).

ABC was fourth with a 1.8/5. Its top show was Boston Legal, which came in second from 10 p.m.-11 p.m. with a 2.2/6. Its average was hurt by a 1.4/4 for back-to-back episodes (new and repeat) of candid-camera show Just for Laughs.