In their closest and most even race in weeks, FOX narrowly held off ABC to win Tuesday night overall. The demo race wasn't actually so close at all.
FOX won in the 18-49 demo with a 6.0 rating, well ahead of NBC's 3.7 rating and the 3.2 rating for CBS in the key demographic. ABC's 2.0 rating and the 0.8 rating for The CW followed.
Overall, though, FOX averaged an estimated 16.58 million viewers to go with a 9.7 rating/15 share, nipping the 9.5/15 for CBS. NBC was third with a 6.4/10, followed by the 5.3/8 for ABC. The CW's 1.2/2 trailed.
In the 8 p.m. hour, FOX got a 13.2/21 for "American Idol" (with a steadily slipping 7.9 rating in the key demo). CBS' "NCIS" was second with a 10.0/16. NBC's "Biggest Loser: Couples" was third, doubling up the average for two episodes of "According to Jim" on ABC. The CW's "Reaper" had a 1.2/2 for the hour.
CBS grabbed the 9 p.m. hour with a 10.5/16 for "The Mentalist." ABC was a solid second with a 9.2/14 for "Dancing with the Stars." NBC's "Biggest Loser: Couples" (6.5/10) and FOX's "Idol"-aided "Fringe" (6.1/9) were well back, but tied to win the hour in the 18-49 demo. The CW's "90210" lost overall viewers from "Reaper," but gained 18-49 viewers.
"Without a Trace" gave CBS the win at 10 p.m., edging the 7.1/12 for NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." After a week off, "Cupid" returned to ABC with a 4.1/7.
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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