Fox still rocking

'Idol' still dominates; 'Unanimous' strong in 2nd

Fox is halfway to a May sweeps victory in young adults after capturing Wednesday behind “American Idol” and “Unanimous,” while CBS, which is second in the demo, is headed for a win in total viewers.

ABC’s “Lost” had a strong night despite little support from its skedmates, keeping the net third for the month, while NBC was on the high side Wednesday but is headed for a fourth-place finish.

According to Nielsen estimates, Fox is the only broadcaster up vs. the first two weeks of May 2005, leading in adults 18-49 (4.4 rating/12 share) and crushing the competish among the 18-34 crowd (4.3/13). CBS, as usual the most popular network overall (12.9 million viewers), also has a narrow advantage on Fox in adults 25-54 (4.8/12 to 4.6/12).

On Wednesday, the “American Idol” results shows dominated the 9 o’clock half-hour (11.2/27 in 18-49, 27.88m), and lead-out “Unanimous” ended its season with a solid second-place finish (6.0/14, 14.21m).

ABC’s “Lost” (6.9/16 in 18-49, 16.35m from 9 to 10:05 p.m.) was on the rise, easily winning the 9:30 half-hour. Show continues to receive meager support from the shows that surround it: “Alias” (2.2/6, 6.08m) ran fifth in 18-49 at 8, and “Invasion” (3.0/8, 7.68m from 10:05 to 11) closed out the night deep in third place — although both improved week-to-week.

NBC had a better-than-average Wednesday, with “Deal or No Deal” winning at 8 (4.9/14 in 18-49, 15.54m) and “Dateline: To Catch a Predator” posting its best delivery to date at 9 (3.5/8, 10.27m). A guest appearance by Michael Imperioli of “The Sopranos” boosted “Law & Order” to a solid second-place finish at 10 (4.2/11 in 18-49, 12.68m), with the skein’s best numbers in three months.

CBS was status quo with “The Amazing Race 9” (3.0/9 in 18-49, 8.41m), the season finale of “Criminal Minds” (3.6/9, 12.67m) and timeslot leader “CSI: NY” at 10 (5.0/13, 12.68m).

UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 4.85m) was looking good one week from its finale, but it was a dreadful finish to a horrible seven-week run for the WB drama “The Bedford Diaries” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1 million for its two-episode average).

The two-week Nielsen 18-49 sweep averages: Fox (4.4/12, up 2% in rating vs. a year ago), CBS (3.6/10, down 10%), ABC (3.3/9, down 11%), NBC (3.1/9, down 6%), the WB (1.3/3, down 7%) and UPN (1.2/3, down 14%).

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