Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Fox’s “American Idol” again steamrolled past the competish Wednesday with the final hourlong audition seg of the season, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

From 8:30 to 9:30, “Idol” averaged a big 12.6 rating/31 share in adults 18-49 and 28.6 million viewers overall. It also seemed to bring more viewers to Fox at 8, as “That ’70s Show” (6.0/16 in adults 18-49, 12.7 million viewers) dominated, but it didn’t help a special preview of comedy “Oliver Beene” at 9:30 (4.4/11 in adults 18-49, 10.8 million viewers), which retained less than one-third of its “Idol” lead-in.

NBC ran a distant second, paced by a slot-leading “Law & Order” at 10 (6.1/16 in adults 18-49, 17.3 million viewers), while ABC’s “The Bachelorette” was hit hard by airing a special 90-minute seg from 8:30 to 10 (4.1/10 in adults 18-49, 9.3 million viewers). The dating show did perk up at 9:30 after “Idol” ended, winning the half-hour in 18-49 (5.7/14).

CBS didn’t do much with the premiere of movie “The Blackwater Lightship” (1.7/4 in adults 18-49, 10.4 million viewers).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 8.8/22; NBC, 4.1/10; ABC, 3.9/10; WB, 2.0/5; CBS, 1.9/5; UPN, 1.3/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 20.2 million; NBC, 11.8 million; CBS, 10.9 million; ABC, 9.1 million; WB, 4.6 million; UPN, 3.2 million.

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