Fast National ratings for Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.

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.



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.