New heights for ‘Idol’

Fox, UPN reap rewards of reality

Another night, another impressive showing for reality programs, as wannabe singers and models ruled the ratings Tuesday.

One day after a different unscripted skein led each of Monday’s primetime hours in key demographic categories, Fox’s “American Idol” achieved all-time highs for a regular episode and UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” surged to some of the network’s best-ever series scores.

While the amazing “Idol” outperformed its boffo premiere-week scores — and delivered the highest 18-49 rating for any entertainment telecast this season — Tuesday’s effort by “Model” was equally impressive.

Shooting up 55% week-to-week in adults 18-49 (3.4/8 vs. 2.2/5) and adding more than 2 million viewers overall (7.11 million vs. 4.93 million), “Top Model,” ran third for its hour in 18-49 and second in 18-34 (3.9/11) — but moved to the 18-34 lead in the 9:30 half-hour, overtaking Fox’s “24” (4.3/12 vs. 4.1/11).

It posted UPN’s best-ever scores in the Tuesday-at-9 hour among women 18-49 (5.1/11) and women 18-34 (6.1/15), winning the timeslot in women 18-34, females 12-34, female teens and teens overall.

In the local overnights, “Top Model” won its hour in New York with a big 9.8 metered-market household rating/13 share.

Clearly, viewers who haven’t watched UPN much are coming over for the show, which still has seven weeks to go. Net drew nearly four times the audience that it did in the hour on the same Tuesday a year ago.

An appearance Tuesday morning by lead judge Tyra Banks on “Good Morning America” may have helped, but the show also appears to be benefiting from good ol’ watercooler buzz. And it’s picking up a lot of viewers from Fox when “American Idol” ends at 9.

In its second Tuesday airing this season, “Idol” delivered the highest 18-49 rating for any entertainment telecast this season (13.0/32) — up 4% from the previous week and 12% better than the same night last year — and averaged a huge 29.63 million viewers overall.

Excluding last May’s finale of “American Idol 2,” those are the music talent show’s highest ratings.

“Idol” outperformed the combined deliveries of the other five broadcasters from 8 to 9 by 25% in 18-49 rating (13.0 vs. 10.4), putting up the net’s best-ever score in the hour.

The audition segs of “Idol,” which traditionally have been the highest-rated, wrap Wednesday.

Fox drama “24” led the 9 o’clock hour in most key measures (5.0/12 in 18-49, 11.14m) despite retaining just 38% of its 18-49 “Idol” lead-in.

At 10, ABC’s first-year drama “Line of Fire” looked stronger (3.0/8 in 18-49, 7.84m) but still was well behind a repeat of NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 12.28m).

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