Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Fox has notched its 16th consecutive Wednesday victory among young adults behind another towering performance by “American Idol,” while ABC scored in the evening’s final hour with its controversial special installment on an alleged scandal involving the popular show.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, the 30-minute “American Idol” results show dominated the 9 o’clock half-hour (10.4 rating/26 share in adults 18-49, 24.5 million viewers overall), and a repeat of laffer “Stacked” kept Fox on top in demos at 9:30 (5.2/13 in 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall). In the opening hour, an original “That ’70s Show” (3/9 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and a repeat at 8:30 (3.8/10 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall) placed second in demos.

ABC was paced by its special “Primetime Live” report at 10 (6.1/16 in 18-49, 13.8 million viewers overall), which won the hour and delivered the highest 18-49 rating for a newsmag since NBC’s two-hour “Dateline” devoted to “Friends” one year ago. The Alphabet also led from 8 to 9 with “Lost” (6/17 in 18-49, 16.5 million viewers overall) and ran second at 9 with “Alias” (3.7/9 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall).

CBS edged NBC for second on the night, with “CSI: NY” at 10 (4.3/11 in 18-49, 13 million viewers overall) getting the best of “Law & Order” (3.6/9 in 18-49, 11.4 million viewers overall), which fell to one of its lowest firstrun scores on record. Eye stumbled at 8 with easily the lowest of the three “Dr. Phil” primetime specs to air on the net (2/6 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall).

At NBC, “Revelations” (3.4/8 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) continued its cooldown after a hot start.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 5.6/15; ABC, 5.3/14; CBS, 3.2/8; NBC, 3/8; UPN, 1.7/5; WB, 1.3/4.

In total viewers: ABC, 13.3 million; Fox, 12.6 million; CBS, 10.7 million; NBC, 9 million; UPN, 3.7 million; WB, 3.3 million.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more