Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009.

One week after one of the closest spring Tuesday ratings races in some time, "American Idol" began the performance portion of its show and, thanks to a two-hour running time, FOX dominated the night.

FOX averaged a 9.5 rating in the key 18-49 demo, far ahead of the 3.6 rating for NBC or CBS' 3.4 rating. ABC was third with a 1.5 rating and The CW's 0.4 rating trailed.

Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 25.1 million viewers to go with a 14.3 rating/21 share. CBS was a competitive second with a 10.2/16. NBC was well back in third with a 5.9/9. ABC's 2.9/4 and the 0.7/1 for The CW trailed. 

FOX began in first with a 14.0/21 for the start of the "American Idol" Top 36 Group One performance night. CBS' "NSIC" finished season with a solid 11.1/17. NBC's "Biggest Loser: Couples" finished third, beating "Homeland Security, USA" on ABC. The CW's "90210" repeat was fifth with a 0.8/1.

"American Idol" improved to a 14.6/22 at 9 p.m. beating the 11.4/17 for "The Mentalist" on CBS. NBC's "The Biggest Loser: Couples" was third with a 6.1/9 (and second in the 18-49 demo). ABC's "Scrubs" repeats and The CW's "Privileged" repeat trailed.

CBS moved into first at 10 p.m. with an 8.0/13 for "Without a Trace." NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" had a 6.5/11 overall and won the hour in the 18-49 demo. ABC's "What Would You Do?" was fifth.

All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.

 

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