Fast National ratings for Wednesday, March 18, 2009.

A shocking elimination on "American Idol" helped bring typically strong ratings to FOX, leading to an easy Wednesday night ratings win.

FOX averaged a 5.7 rating in the key 18-49 demographic, well ahead of the 2.9 rating for CBS or ABC's 2.8 rating. NBC's 1.6 rating and the 1.0 rating for The CW trailed.

Overall, FOX averaged an estimated 16.55 million viewers to go with a 9.8 rating/16 share. CBS was second with a 7.1/12. There was a big drop to ABC's 4.2/7 in third and NBC's fourth place 3.4/6. The CW's 1.6/3 was fifth.

In the 8 p.m. hour, FOX's "Lie to Me" did a 6.0/10 for first place. CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and "Gary Unmarried" was second with a 4.8/8. ABC took third with the time period premiere of "Scrubs" and the series premiere of "Better Off Ted," which averaged a 3.6/6 between them. The CW's "America's Next Top Model" had a 2.6/4 to beat out NBC's "The Chopping Block" for fourth.

At 9 p.m. the "American Idol" elimination hour did a 13.5/21. CBS' "Criminal Minds" took second with an 8.5/13. "Lost" was down to a 5.4/8 and third place, though it took second in the 18-49 demo. NBC's "Lost" was third with a 2.8/4, while The CW's "90210" repeat trailed.

CBS moved into first at 10 p.m. with an 8.1/14 for "CSI: NY." NBC's "Law & Order" was a distant second, beating the 3.4/6 for ABC's "Life on Mars."

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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