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‘Idol’ aud bigger than ‘Bro’

Fox tops adults 18-49, CBS took 25-54 demo, total auds

HOLLYWOOD — Things are heating up for the summer’s elimination-style reality shows, as both CBS’ “Big Brother 3” and Fox’s “American Idol” shot up to new ratings heights Wednesday.

“Idol,” this summer’s standout reality performer, won its head-to-head battle with “Brother” at 9:30 by posting its best Wednesday numbers yet, but the CBS entry still managed its strongest delivery yet.

For the 9 p.m. hour, according to Nielsen, “Big Brother” won in the key demos of adults 18-49 (4.7/13), 25-54 (5.1/14) and 18-34 (5.1/16) as well as total viewers (10.58 million) — drawing its best score in each category for any night this summer.

“Brother” saw its biggest surge among adults 18-34, as its 5.1 rating was 19% higher than its previous best (4.3), set July 24.

At 9:30, though, it was “American Idol’s” time to shine: The music talent show topped “Brother” by 2 shares in both 18-49 and 18-34.

“Idol” had its best showings for a Wednesday seg in adults 18-49 (5.7/15) and total viewers (12.05m), and its best delivery among teens (6.4/23) for any night this summer. “Idol’s” Tuesday edition had set a new high in teens just one night earlier (6.0/22).

Fox won the night in adults 18-49, while CBS prevailed in both adults 25-54 and total viewers.

It’s likely that “Big Brother 3” would fare even better on Wednesdays if it didn’t face “Idol” at 9:30, but its perf on the night must be encouraging to the Eye: This fall, net’s “Amazing Race” takes on ABC’s “The Bachelor” in another head-to-head reality battle on Wednesday.

“American Idol,” which reduced its number of contestants to four on Wednesday, wraps with a two-hour finale on Sept. 4. “Big Brother 3,” which was down to eight players after Thursday’s episode, is set to conclude Sept. 25.

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