Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

As it has every week since mid-January, Fox dominated Tuesday’s ratings race, winning the night’s first two hours behind “American Idol” and “House,” while NBC remained in control of the 10 o’clock hour with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” (8.9 rating/25 share in adults 18-49, 23.0 million viewers overall) again was in season-low ratings territory, and figures to come in about 15% below the same night a year ago; still, it beat ABC, CBS, NBC and CW combined in young adults. “House” followed with big numbers (9.2/23 in 18-49, 21.6 million viewers overall), up slightly vs. the same night last season despite the softer lead-in.

ABC assumed second-place honors on the night, as the “Dancing With the Stars” results show hit a season high at 9 o’clock (4.7/12 in 18-49, 18.1 million viewers overall) one week removed from its season finale. Closing out the night, “Boston Legal” (2.8/8 in 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall) ran second and was up week to week.

At CBS, the “Academy of Country Music Awards” hit lowest-yet scores on the network, averaging a third-place 2.7/7 in adults 18-49 and 9.2 million viewers overall. It was off more than 20% year-to-year.

NBC finished just behind the Eye on the night in 18-49, although the net rallied to win as usual at 10 with “Law & Order: SVU” (4.3/11 in 18-49, 12.6 million viewers overall), which logged its best numbers in three tries in the May sweep.

At CW, the series finale of “Gilmore Girls” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) matched its season high in 18-49 and delivered the show’s best 18-34 average (2.8/9) since January 2006, when it aired on the WB.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 9.1/24; ABC, 3.2/9; CBS, 2.7/7; NBC, 2.6/7; Univision, 1.9/5; CW, 1.6/4.

In total viewers: Fox, 22.3 million; ABC, 12.6 million; CBS, 9.2 million; NBC, 8.3 million; Univision, 3.6 million; CW, 3.5 million.

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