The "American Idol" season's final audition episode, airing on an unusual night, helped carry FOX to a rare Thursday domination.
FOX averaged a 7.0 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, with CBS a distant second with a 3.5 rating. NBC's 1.9 rating, the 1.8 rating for ABC and The CW's 1.7 rating were all in a tight clump.
Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 17.67 million viewers and a 10.1 rating/16 share, holding off CBS' 8.7/14. ABC was a distant third with a 4.1/7, with NBC's 3.1/5 and The CW's 2.4/4 trailing.
In the 8 p.m. hour "American Idol" did a 13.7/21, averaging nearly 24.3 million viewers. A repeat of "Criminal Minds" on CBS was second, more than doubling the 2.8/4 for ABC's "Ugly Betty," the 2.7/4 for NBC's "My Name Is Earl" and "Kath & Kim" and the 2.6/4 for The CW's "Smallville." Kudos to "Smallville," which actually finished third in the hour in both total viewers and in the 18-49 demo.
CBS moved into first at 9 p.m. with a 12.1/19 for "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." FOX was a distant second with the 6.5/10 for the premiere of the fifth season of "Hell's Kitchen." A repeat of "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC did a 4.0/6, beating NBC's "The Office" and "30 Rock" in fourth, plust the 2.2/3 for The CW's "Supernatural" in fifth.
At 10 p.m. CBS got an 8.1/14 from "Eleventh Hour." ABC's "Private Practice" had a 5.4/9 for second. NBC's "E.R." repeat 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.