The eighth season of FOX's "American Idol" premiered to an audience of 30 million viewers on Tuesday night, down from last season but still a remarkable figure in this network TV landscape.
FOX averaged a whopping 11.6 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, beating the 3.5 rating for CBS and NBC's 3.3 rating. ABC's 2.3 rating was fourth, followed by the 0.8 rating for The CW.
Overall, FOX averaged a 15.8 rating/23 share for the night. CBS held up remarkably well against the "Idol" onslaught, doing a 10.2/16 for the night. NBC's 5.6/9 and ABC's 3.7/6 were next, with The CW's 1.2/2 in fifth.
The first hour of "American Idol" had a 14.5/22 in the 8 p.m. hour for FOX. CBS' "NCIS" was second with an 11.3/17. NBC's "Biggest Loser: Couples" was third with a 5.0/8, beating "Homeland Security USA" on ABC. "Idol" took a huge chunk out of the audience for "90210," which did only a 1.5/2 for The CW.
At 9 p.m. "Idol" was up to a 17.1/25. CBS again stayed steady with an 11.1/16 for "The Mentalist." NBC's "Biggest Loser" was third. "Idol" also bit into the audience for "Scrubs," which fell to a 2.8/4 in its second week on ABC. The CW's "Privileged" may be on life support after a 0.8/1.
CBS moved into first at 10 p.m. with an 8.0/13 for "Without a Trace." NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" was second with a 6.1/10. ABC's "What Would You Do?" special was third.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.