‘Idol’ on a high note

Fox leads key demo for May

With “American Idol” performing well ahead of last year’s pace, Fox rolled to another Wednesday ratings victory and is the demo leader at the halfway point of the May sweep.

Fox leads in adults 18-49, with CBS a solid second. The Eye has it in adults 25-54 and total viewers, while ABC is the most improved net compared with a year ago, according to Nielsen.

Although CBS still has some big guns to fire off (“Survivor” and “CSI” season finales and the series finale of “Everybody Loves Raymond”), Fox is still projected to win the month in the prized 18-49 demo by two or three ticks over CBS — that is, provided the finale of “American Idol” makes it to air May 25. (Fox and CBS could be in a virtual tie heading into that night, which closes out the sweep.)

As the second week came to a close, ABC’s “Lost” and UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” spiked up as they near their finales, but NBC’s “Revelations” is going the other way. Also, it was Heartbreak Hotel for CBS’ conclusion of two-part biopic “Elvis.”

The half-hour “American Idol” results show dominated Wednesday (11.5 rating/28 share in adults 18-49, 26.63 million viewers overall), topping the other three major nets combined in 18-49 and improving by a hefty 12% in the demo vs. the same night a year ago.

Fox then fell off considerably at 9:30 but remained on top in 18-49 with rookie laffer “Stacked” (5.1/12, 10.75m).

At 8, ABC’s “Lost” (6.5/18 in 18-49, 17.10m) was up week-to-week in 18-49, toppling Fox’s second-place hour of “That ’70s Show” (3.5/10 in 18-49, 7.15m). Alphabet was also a solid second at 9 in demos with “Alias” (4.0/10 in 18-49, 9.84m), which easily bested the penultimate episode of NBC’s fading “Revelations” (3.2/8, 8.36m).

CBS couldn’t generate much enthusiasm for the conclusion of two-part biopic “Elvis” (third-place 2.9/8 in 18-49, 10.48m), but picked up at 10 with a slot victory for “CSI: NY” (4.9/13, 14.55m) over NBC’s hurting “Law & Order” (3.8/10, 12.22m), which was down 32% year-to-year.

UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model 4” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 5.55m) placed third 18-34 at 8 (3.2/10) and second in women 18-34 (5.1/14), racking up some cycle-high Nielsens. Lead-out drama “Kevin Hill” took advantage (1.3/3, 2.69m), rising to its best 18-34 score since December (1.3/4) and topping the finale of the WB’s “Jack & Bobby” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.08m).

UPN, which wasn’t airing “Top Model” last May, is up 25% vs. a year ago in adults 18-34 (1.5/5 vs. 1.2/4) to tie the WB at the sweep’s halfway point.

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