Fox cruises on Tuesday

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Fox made it look easy on the opening Tuesday of the May sweep, rolling to its 17th consecutive Tuesday victory among young adults behind “American Idol” and “24,” according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

“American Idol” (9.5/27 in adults 18-49, 19.9 million viewers overall) remained a dominant force at 8, again defeating the combined 18-49 scores of ABC, CBS and Fox. The net’s drama “24” (5.8/15 in adults 18-49, 12.2 million viewers overall) also easily led its hour in the 18-49, 25-54 and 18-34 categories – up about 30% year-to-year.

ABC eked out a second-place finish in adults 18-49, with “NYPD Blue” (4.5/12 in adults 18-49, 11.5 million viewers overall) winning in key demos at 10. From 8 to 9, “8 Simple Rules” (2.9/9 in adults 18-49, 8.1 million viewers overall) and a repeat of “According to Jim” (2.9/8 in adults 18-49, 7.8 million viewers overall) ran second in 18-49. Compared to the same night a year ago, the net was up for the night by 17% in the demo.

NBC was led by “Frasier” (second-place 4.2/11 in adults 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), which featured a guest appearance by Dr. Phil. Although up vs. its recent scores, the vet laffer was down about 25% year-to-year. From 10 to 11, Matt Lauer’s interview with Madonna led “Dateline” to a second-place 18-49 finish (4.1/11) and a victory among adults 18-34 (3.8/12).

At CBS, both “Judging Amy” (3.8/10 in adults 18-49, 13.1 million viewers overall) and “JAG” (2.6/7 in adults 18-49, 13.3 million viewers overall) placed second in their hours among adults 25-54. At 9, “The Guardian” led its hour in total viewers (12.3 million) despite a likely fifth-place finish among adults 18-49.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 7.7/20; ABC, 3.5/9; NBC, 3.4/9; CBS, 3.0/8.

In total viewers: Fox led with 16 million.

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