Fox appears to be benefiting not only from the presence of American Idol, but from the absence of some high-powered competition, as well.
Even without Idol, Fox still won the night Thursday with a 3.5 rating/9 share in the 18-49 demo.
On a typical Thursday night, the race would have been between Grey's Anatomy and CSI for bragging rights, with ABC likely doing the bragging. But in this strike-addled season, both series were in repeats. Grey's has never repeated particularly well, and both shows were topped by original reality shows on both Fox and NBC.
In fact, NBC had the top-rated show of the night in Celebrity Apprentice, which averaged a 3.9/10 from 9 p.m.-10 p.m., but that was not enough to offset the 2.3/6 the network averaged from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. with repeats of My Name Is Earl and The Office.
Fox, on the other hand, got consistent 3-plus ratings from both of its reality shows, Smarter than a Fifth Grader (3.7/10) and Don't Forget the Lyrics (3.4/9).
NBC was second on the night in the demo with a 3.2/9, followed by CBS at a 2.9/8. CBS' top show was a new episode of Without a Trace at a 3.4/10, tied with ER for first from 10 p.m.-11 p.m.
ABC was fourth with a 2.5/7, led by Ugly Betty with a 3/8 from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. but hurt by the small numbers for Big Shot (1.8/5) from 10 p.m.-11 p.m., the new ABC dramedy that advertises itself as exploring, "in comedic terms, what it means to be a man in 2007." Not many people are exploring the show, about self-absorbed CEOs doing their best Sex in the City impressions.