‘Idol’ retains huge preem aud

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Fox’s “American Idol” continued its amazing start to the season Tuesday night, when the music talent show virtually matched its record-setting opener of a week earlier, according to preliminary Nielsen nationals.

It was pretty much “American Idol” and then everything else on Tuesday, with another two-hour auditions seg of “Idol” averaging a huge 15.0 rating/35 share in adults 18-49 and 34.8 million viewers overall — about 2% below last week’s fifth-season premiere.

“Idol” delivered an 18-49 audience more than three times greater than the next closest show, CBS drama “NCIS” (3.9/10). And in total viewers, its 34.8 million was more than double “NCIS” (16.7 million). Still, the Eye crime drama is also up vs. the opening weeks of “Idol” a year ago.

In the 9 o’clock hour, two segs of “Scrubs” did OK for NBC (2.9/6 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall) but ABC’s “Commander in Chief” fell to a new low for the fifth consecutive firstrun telecast (2.2/5 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall).

ABC fared better at 10 with “Boston Legal” (3.7/9 in 18-49, 12.8 million viewers overall), which tied in 18-49 with a repeat of NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (3.7/9 in 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall). CBS drama “Love Monkey” placed third (3.1/8 in 18-49, 7.7 million viewers overall), down about 10% from its series premiere.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 15.0/35; CBS, 3.5/8; NBC, 2.8/7; ABC, 2.6/5; WB, 1.0/2; UPN, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 34.8 million; CBS, 12.2 million; ABC, 9.6 million; NBC, 6.7 million; WB, 2.6 million; UPN, 0.7/2.

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