Fast National ratings for Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.

FOX's "American Idol" lost roughly 8 million viewers from its premiere last week, while "Fringe" struggled to hold onto its lead-in. Neither fact prevented FOX from winning the night.

FOX averaged a 6.8 rating in the 18-49 demographic, beating the 3.4 rating averaged by ABC and NBC in the key age group. CBS was fourth with a 2.2 rating, while The CW's 0.9 rating trailed.

Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 17.26 million viewers for the night with a 9.6 rating/14 share. ABC was an acceptable second with a 7.3/11, while CBS took third with a 6.1/9. NBC's 5.5/8 was good for fourth, while The CW's 1.4/2 stood in fifth.

In the 8 p.m. hour, FOX's "American Idol" averaged 22.42 million viewers and a 12.1/18. ABC's inaugural coverage was second with an 8.0/12. CBS' "NCIS," which held up well against "Idol" last week, did a 7.3/11 with a repeat. NBC's "Biggest Loser: Couples" was fourth, while The CW's "90210" was fifth with a 1.5/2.

ABC's "Neighborhood Ball" coverage of the inauguration won the 9 p.m. hour with a 7.9/12. NBC's "Biggest Loser" was second with a 7.3/11. "Fringe" averaged a 7.1/10 for the hour, but it fell to a 6.4/9 in its second half-hour. CBS' inaugural coverage was fourth, while The CW's "Privileged" bounced back from last week's totals with a 1.2/2.

CBS moved into first at 10 p.m. with the 6.6/11 for "The Mentalist." ABC's news special was second with a 6.2/10 while "Dateline NBC" trailed.

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


A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.