‘Idol’ sings familiar tune

Fox, Eye top key demos

It was another case of split leadership in last week’s primetime ratings battle, with Fox remaining solidly ahead among adults 18-49 and CBS holding on to the lead in the 25-54 breakdown as well as total viewers.

Fox, powered by two hours of “American Idol” and hot drama “House,” made it eight straight weeks atop the 18-49 leaderboard, according to Nielsen, as the net keeps its eye on at least a share of first place when the season wraps next month.

CBS, meanwhile, employed its hit crime dramas and successful midseason skein “The Unit” to notch its third straight weekly victory in 25-54. The Eye is projected to win its third straight season by this measure.

Overall, in the closely watched 18-49 category for the April 10-16 frame, Fox’s 4.0 rating/12 share was solidly in front of ABC (3.4/10), CBS (3.3/10) and NBC (2.6/8) — with the Alphabet the only net to improve on its perf of the same week a year ago.

Through Sunday, ABC maintained a slim edge on Fox for the season (4.1 to 4.0), with 38 nights left to be counted.

CBS (4.3/11) squeaked past Fox (4.2/11) and ABC (4.1/11) in adults 25-54 last week and cruised as usual in total viewers, averaging 11.4 million.

Fox’s winning week was highlighted by “American Idol,” whose Tuesday performance edition was far and away the No. 1 program (12.0 rating/33 share in adults 18-49, 29.65 million viewers overall).

Net also claimed the next two spots in the 18-49 program rankings with Wednesday’s special one-hour “Idol” results show (9.2/24, 22.64m) and Tuesday’s “House” (8.5/21, 21.20m).

Fox was especially dominant among young viewers last week, with its 3.5/12 in persons 12-34 towering over second-place ABC’s 2.3/8.

The Alphabet rose to second in 18-49 on the strength of hit dramas “Desperate Housewives” (7.9/19, 20.02m) and “Lost” (6.3/16, 15.68m) and a nice showing for two-part original movie “The Ten Commandments” (4.6/11 in 18-49, 13.86m on Monday and 3.9/10, 12.02m on Tuesday).

Perhaps because of the new version making noise, Saturday’s rebroadcast of the classic Charlton Heston pic (2.8/10, 8.89m), also on ABC, was up about 33% vs. last year’s airing.

CBS was paced by timeslot-winning perfs from crime dramas “CSI” (7.7/22, 24.42m), “Without a Trace” (5.7/16, 18.62m) and “CSI: Miami” (5.3/14, 17.16m).

But the net had a devil of a time getting viewers to watch original movie “Robert Ludlum’s Covert One: Hades Factor,” which perhaps fittingly drew 6.66 million viewers with its concluding second part Sunday.

NBC ran a distant fourth for the week as it aired repeats of most of its top series. A bright light continues to be “Deal or No Deal,” which again ruled its Monday hour (4.3/13, 14.47m).

It’s hard to get a read on new Tuesday comedy “Teachers” (2.4/6, 5.19m), which isn’t putting up great numbers but is holding on to much of its “Scrubs” lead-in (2.8/7, 5.92m).

The WB edged past UPN for the week in adults 18-34 (1.3/4 to 1.2/4) as both nets near the end of their runs. A bright spot for the Frog was Thursday’s “Supernatural” (1.6/5, 3.62m), which held on to most of its lead-in from “Smallville” (1.8/6, 3.94m).

With “WWE Raw” again leading the way, USA finished on top for the week in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers among ad-supported cable nets.

Discovery cracked the top five thanks to Tuesday’s “Deadliest Catch” (1.4/3, 2.59m), while Comedy Central ranked fifth among cable nets in 18-34, getting a boost from Wednesday’s combo of “South Park” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.49m) and “Mind of Mencia” (1.3/4, 2.67m).

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