Fast National ratings for Tuesday, February 28, 2012.
The season's first "American Idol" performance show carried FOX to Tuesday night wins, including a commanding victory among young viewers, but in their head-to-head hour, CBS' "NCIS" had a commanding lead in total viewers.
Meanwhile, the presence of "Idol" helped send a slew of shows on a downward trajectory from last week, including ABC's "Last Man Standing," "Cougar Town" and "The River," plus The CW's "Ringer."
Among adults 18-49, FOX averaged a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49, with CBS coming in a distant second in the key demographic with a 2.8 rating. NBC averaged a 2.0 rating, followed by ABC's 1.6 rating. The CW averaged a 0.4 rating for the night. 
Overall, though, things were far closer. FOX won the night with a 9.3 rating/14 share and 15.835 million viewers, compared to 14.54 million viewers and a 9.2/14 for CBS, but obviously CBS won the 8-to-10 p.m. portion of primetime. ABC's 3.6/6 and 5.56 million viewers nipped the 3.5/5 and 5.5 million viewers for NBC. The CW averaged a 0.7/1 and 999,000 viewers.
8 p.m. - CBS started the night in first overall with 18.01 million viewers for "NCIS," coming in second with a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49. FOX's "American Idol" averaged 15.62 million viewers for second and won the hour with a 4.9 key demo rating. ABC was third overall and fourth in the demo with "Last Man Standing" (7.375 million viewers and a 2.1 key demo rating) and "Cougar Town" (4.3 million viewers and a 1.5 key demo rating), which both dropped against "Idol," but not hugely. NBC's "The Biggest Loser" averaged 5.48 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo rating. On The CW, a repeat of "Hart of Dixie" averaged 893,000 viewers.
9 p.m. - "American Idol" rose to 16.05 million viewers and a 5.1 rating among adults 18-49 to claim the 9 p.m. hour. CBS slipped to second with 15.67 million viewers and a 3.1 key demo rating for "NCIS: Los Angeles," which was actually up from last week among young viewers. NBC's "The Biggest Loser" averaged 5.89 million viewers and a 2.1 key demo rating in third. It was another week of dropping numbers for "The River," which averaged 4.09 million viewers and a 1.5 key demo rating for ABC. The CW's "Ringer" averaged 1.11 million viewers and a 0.4 key demo rating.
10 p.m. - CBS' "Unforgettable" lost more viewers this week, averaging 9.93 million and tied for the hour lead with a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. ABC's "Body of Proof" was second with 6.75 million viewers and third with a 1.3 key demo rating. On NBC, "Parenthood" got a small bump for its season finale and averaged 5.13 million viewers and a 1.9 key demo rating.
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.