Fox's American Idol came down from Mount Everest Wednesday, but only about as far as Kilimanjaro.
In its second outing of season five, the show's ratings were from its two-hour Tuesday debut, but it still beat every other network combined in its 8-9 time period with a 13 rating/33 share in the 18-49 demo in Nielsen Fast Affiliate overnight ratings. That led Fox to an easy nightly victory in the demo with a 10/24 average.
No other network could crack a 2.5 rating for the hour when the Idols held sway.
With that lead-in, Fox's debut of Skating with Celebrities, a chilled-over version of ABC's Dancing With the Stars that it hyped heavily in NFL playoff games, cut into ABC's powerhouse Lost big time, actually beating the first half-hour of a new episode of the series at 9-9:30 with a 7.9/18 to Lost's 7.8/18, before dropping to a still-strong 6.5/15 at 9:30-10 while Lost rose to an 8.3/19.
It is still one of the best performances of any network show against the usually dominant ABC drama, with Skating skating to a 7.12/16 for the hour to Lost's 8.1/18. By contrast, an episode of Fox's Nanny 911 up against Lost back in October did a 2.8/7 to Lost's 9/22.
ABC easily won the battle for second with a 4.7/11 in the demo, thanks to Lost.
CBS was third with a 3.9/9. Its top show was CSI: NY, which won its 10 p.m. time period with a 5.4/14.
NBC was third with a 3.1/7, with Law & Order providing the bright spot at a 4.1/10 for second place at 10 p.m.
Univision was fifth with a 1.9 for its telenovela lineup, while The WB was sixth with a 1.2/3 for a new One Tree Hill and a repeat of Beauty & the Geek.
UPN, which barely registered Tuesday with a .4/1 average, was up slightly to a .6/2 for South Beach and a repeat of Veronica Mars, though going up against a two-hour American Idol Tuesday and the one-two-three punch of Idol, Skating and Lost proved a formidable task for all the competition.