TV Ratings: 'American Idol' premiere draws nearly 30 million for FOX
'Idol' is steady from last year, while CBS' dramas mostly hold their audiences
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The ninth season premiere of "American Idol" was down very slightly in total viewers for FOX and up very slightly in the 18-49 demographic, meaning that it helped FOX crush the competition on Tuesday night.
Then again, CBS mostly withstood the "American Idol" whirlwind and finished a solid second with its three dramas.
Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged an 11.7 rating in the 18-49 demographic (last year's "Idol" premiere did an 11.6 rating). CBS' 3.5 rating was a distant second, with NBC's 2.8 rating good for third in the key demo. ABC's 1.0 rating and the 0.3 rating for The CW trailed.
Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 29.8 million viewers (down from 30.1 million for last year's Tuesday premiere) and a 15.9 rating/24 share. CBS' 10.4/16 was a solid second with 16.66 million viewers. NBC was a distant third with a 4.7/7, while ABC's 2.0/3 was fourth. The CW trailed with a 0.5/1. A "Scrubs" repeat and a new "Better Off Ted" on ABC did a 1.6/2 for a distant fourth, beating The CW's "90210" repeat.
FOX started primetime in first with a 15.0/22 for the first hour of "American Idol," which averaged 27.9 million viewers and a 10.8 rating in the demo. There were still enough non-"Idol" viewers for CBS' "NCIS" to do a 12.6/19 and draw 20.71 million, which is mighty impressive. "Idol" took a bigger bite out of NBC's "The Biggest Loser," which fell to a 4.9/7 in third.
In its second hour, "American Idol" rose to a 16.8/25 for FOX, averaging 31.69 million viewers and a 12.7 rating in the demo. CBS' "NCIS: Los Angeles" was a strong second with a 9.7/14. NBC's "Biggest Loser" had a 4.9/7 overall, but finished second in the key demo. ABC's new "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted" averaged a 1.7/3 in fourth. That left The CW's "Melrose Place" repeat in fifth.
CBS grabbed the lead at 10 p.m. with an 8.9/15 for "The Good Wife," which also did a 3.0 rating in the demo. NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" had a 3.8/7, comfortably beating a new episode of "The Forgotten" on ABC.
All ratings information comes from preliminary Fast National Nielsen data, which includes live and same-day DVR viewing. All numbers are subject to change.