Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

The 30-minute results show edition of “American Idol” towered over the competition Wednesday night, helping Fox close out the February sweep with a ratings victory, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen. ABC’s “Lost” and UPN’s premiere of “America’s Next Top Model” also shined.

“Idol” (10.0 rating/24 share in adults 18-49, 23.9 million viewers overall) again stood out as the night’s top-rated program as it shifted to a half-hour format on Wednesday for the first time this season. “Simple Life 3″ followed at 9:30 with winning numbers (5.7/14 in adults 18-49, 12.9 million viewers overall).

ABC’s “Lost” remained strong at 8 (6.9/18 in adults 18-49, 18.8 million viewers overall), but both “Alias” (roughly 3.9/9 in adults 18-49, 10.1 million viewers overall) and “Wife Swap” (3.1/8 in adults 18-49, 7.5 million viewers overall) continue to trend downward for the net.

NBC had a stronger than usual night, kicked off by a special “Dateline” at 8 featuring an interview with the half-sister of Scott Peterson (3.3/9 in adults 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall) and capped by a now-rare timeslot victory at 10 by “Law & Order” (4.9/13 in adults 18-49, 14.7 million viewers overall). In between, “West Wing” remains low but was up vs. recent weeks (3.3/8 in adults 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall).

CBS was paced by “CSI: NY” at 10 (second-place 4.6/12 in adults 18-49, 13.5 million viewers overall) and “Yes, Dear” at 9:30 (3.9/9 in adults 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall). Latter built on its “King of Queens” lead-in (3.4/8 in adults 18-49, 10.2 million viewers overall).

Over at UPN, the fourth cycle of “America’s Next Top Model” opened nicely against tough competish (2.2/6 in adults 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall), ranking third for its hour in key younger demos.

Preliminary adults 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 5.8/15; ABC, 4.7/12; NBC, 3.8/10; CBS, 3.3/9; UPN, 2.0/5; WB, 1.3/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 13.2 million; ABC, 12.2 million; NBC, 12.2 million; CBS, 10.6 million; UPN, 4.7 million; WB, 3.3 million.

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