American Idol was not the top-rated Tuesday night show outright in the 19-49 Nielsen overnight ratings for the first time in memory (at press time Fox was checking on whether that memory was accurate).
But Fox couldn't have been too unhappy either way. Idol shared that top 8.9 rating with House, the Fox drama that has on several occasions in the past few weeks been the highest-rated drama on TV, topping the heretofore higher-profile Grey's Anatomy and Lost, though with Greys still a tenth of a rating point ahead season-to-date. That 8.9 rating for House was the best ever for a lead-out from Idol, said Fox.
For the night, Fox averaged an 8.9 rating/25 share (Idol's percentage share of TV households with their sets on in prime time was a 27, House's a 23).
ABC and CBS tied for the familiar distant second place with a 2.8/8. ABC's top show was its Dancing With the Stars results show at a 4.1/11 at 9-10 p.m. CBS' top performer was NCIS at only a 3.1/9 at 8-9, but it got more consistent performances across the night, while ABC's average was dragged down by George Lopez, which only averaed a 1.6 rating against Idol compared to NCIS's relatively strong showing.
NBC was in its familiar fourth place with a 2.4/7, topped by Law& Order: SVU with a 3.8/11. The big drag on NBC was Dateline against Idol, with the former averaging a 1.4/4 for last place, beaten handily by The CW's Gilmore Girls (1.8/5).
The CW was fifth with a 1.4/4 for Girls and Veronica Mars.