Fox in the musical groove

'Idol,' 'Dance' take the lead

Fox wrapped the broadcast season a convincing winner with “American Idol” last week and then kept the momentum going with a good start for “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The May 22-28 frame, which included the final three nights of the season, was dominated by the “Idol” finale and shows like “House,” “Lost” and “CSI: Miami” that ended their seasons early in the week. Fox then squeezed in the start of “Think You Can Dance” on Thursday before viewing levels dropped significantly at the onset of the holiday weekend.

According to Nielsen estimates, Wednesday’s fifth-season finale of “American Idol” established series records for the phenomenon (14.2 rating/34 share in adults 18-49, 36.38 million viewers overall from 8 to 10:04 p.m.), rising 14% year to year (Daily Variety, May 26).

Those numbers made it the No. 2 series telecast of the season, behind only ABC’s post-Super Bowl seg of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Fox also dominated Tuesday with the final “Idol” performance show (12.3/34 in 18-49, 31.78m) and the season finale of “House” (10.2/25 in 18-49, 25.47m), which set series highs and delivered the top demo rating for a Fox drama in more than seven years (“X-Files” in February 1999).

In 18-49, “House” also edged out ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” as the season’s top-rated finale for a scripted program.

Also contributing to Fox’s 14th consecutive weekly victory in adults 18-49 were Monday’s two-hour season finale of “24” (5.5/14 in 18-49, 13.75m) and Thursday’s two-hour season preem of “So You Think You Can Dance” (4.3/13, 10.70m), which easily led its slot in demos (Daily Variety, May 30).

A NASCAR Nextel Cup race set the pace Sunday (3.1/12, 8.36m), meaning the net captured six nights in 18-49 during a single frame (without help from baseball) for the first time.

For the week, according to Nielsen, Fox’s 5.7 rating/18 share in 18-49 was bigger than the combined scores of No. 2 ABC (2.7/8) and No. 3 CBS (2.5/7), with NBC fourth (2.0/6). Spanish-language Univision placed fifth in 18-49 (1.4/4) and fourth in 18-34 (1.6/5), edging out NBC.

Fox also prevailed in every other key demo — from 25-54 (6.3/18) to 12-34 (4.7/17) — as well as total viewers (14.8 million).

At ABC, the two-hour season finale of “Lost” (7.6/18 in 18-49, 17.84m) held up well opposite “Idol.” Net’s Monday saw mixed results, with spec “Oprah Winfrey’s Legend Ball” looking good (3.9/11 in 18-49, 11.59m) but the series wrap of “Alias” sputtering (2.7/6, 6.68m).

Alphabet also was on the low end Tuesday with original movie “Stephen King’s Desperation” (2.5/7, 7.51m).

CBS did well Monday with the season finales of “CSI: Miami” (6.8/16, 19.96m), “Two and a Half Men” (5.1/12, 15.51m) and “Old Christine” (4.5/10, 13.06m) and kept the lights on Tuesday with the 41st annual “Academy of Country Music Awards” (3.5/9, 12.02m).

Eye’s weakest showing of the sesh was its latest low-rated Dr. Phil spec, Wednesday’s “Escaping Addiction” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.20m).

NBC had a forgettable frame, with Monday’s “Deal or No Deal” (4.6/13 in 18-49, 14.21m) the net’s only skein to notch a double-digit share.

NBA playoff games on four nights, including Game 7 of the Western Conference matchup between Dallas and San Antonio on Monday (3.0/8 in 18-49, 7.07m), carried TNT to a primetime victory among the cable nets. ESPN, with the first three games of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between Detroit and Miami, ran second.

* * *

On Tuesday of the current week, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” got off to a solid start (3.7/11 in 18-49, 8.5 million), winning its two-hour block in key demos against mostly repeat competish, according to preliminary Nielsens. The 3.7 rating is better than NBC fared on any Tuesday in the timeslot last summer.

Skein, with Anthony Clark as its new host, hasn’t aired on NBC since October 2004. Tuesday’s bow was up from its last season premiere in August 2004 (2.7/9 in 18-49) but down a bit from its June 2004 bow (4.0/12).

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