Skein loses some air as it runs against 'Idol'

The second season of UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” made a nice turn on the catwalk Tuesday despite facing Fox’s unstoppable “American Idol,” which established another network record.

“Top Model” certainly had some air taken out of its balloon the past couple of weeks airing opposite two-hour editions of “American Idol” but nonetheless was the No. 2 choice for young-adult viewers in Tuesday’s 9 o’clock hour.

According to Nielsen, the wannabe model reality skein averaged a 2.8/7 in adults 18-49 and 5.89 million viewers overall — slightly below its season averages heading into Tuesday. It ran second to “Idol” in adults 18-34 (3.4/9), women 18-34 (5.4/14), persons 12-34 (3.6/10) and other key femme demos.

Compared with last season’s finale (which aired in July), Tuesday’s finale seg was up 26% in adults 18-34 and a big 110% in teens (4.2/14 vs. 2.0/7).

Thanks to “Top Model,” which will return with two editions next season, UPN’s Tuesday is up sharply vs. a year ago, when “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was its anchor. Net hasn’t announced how it will fill out the Tuesday-at-9 hour for the remainder of this season.

As for “Idol,” it was up vs. the previous week’s two-hour episode in both adults 18-49 (11.5/30 vs. 11.3/28) and total viewers (26.97m vs. 26.72m), delivering the largest-ever Fox Tuesday audience for a second straight week.

For the season, the Tuesday “Idol” is in a tight battle with CBS drama “CSI” as the season’s most-watched program and is the clear No. 1 series in adults 18-49, adults 25-54, adults 18-34 and kids 2-11, according to Nielsen.

At 9 opposite “Idol,” CBS legal drama “Century City” failed to do much in its second outing (1.9/5 in 18-49, 7.30m), retaining a soft 66% of its 25-54 lead-in from a repeat of “Navy NCIS” (2.4/5 vs. 3.6/9).

Also Tuesday, FX drama “The Shield” hit its best numbers in three tries this season (1.7/5 in adults 18-49, 3.32m). In its strongest demo of men 18-34, it beat ABC’s “NYPD Blue” (2.3/7 vs. 1.4/4) and ran second only to a repeat of NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” (3.4/11) in the 10 o’clock hour.

Comedy Central’s “Chappelle’s Show” also was strong at 10 in this young-male demo (2.2/7).

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