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Fox crushes competition

'House,' 'Idol' powerhouse duo

Fox left no doubt in the opening two hours of primetime Tuesday, obliterating its rivals with “American Idol” and “House,” with the latter establishing a series high for the second time in three tries.

According to national estimates from Nielsen, “American Idol” (13.0 rating/31 share in adults 18-49, 31.2 million viewers overall) beat the combined ABC-CBS-NBC-CW competition by 6 shares in adults 18-49 and was up by 14% vs. the same night a year ago when the Winter Olympics provided some tougher competition on NBC. “House” followed with equally dominant numbers (11.2/25 in 18-49, 26.0 million viewers overall) and surged by a huge 58% vs. last year.

“House” eked past its previous high demo rating of 11.1 set two weeks ago, and Tuesday’s seg stands as the season’s top-rated scripted telecast in adults 18-49.

NBC’s second-place finish in 18-49 was led by “Law & Order: SVU” (4.9/12 in 18-49, 12.9 million viewers overall), while the net was above average from 8 to 10 with “Dateline” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.3 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall). “Dateline” delivered the best demo score for the net opposite “Idol” in the time period since last February.

CBS, second on the night in adults 25-54 and total viewers, was paced by runner-up finishes from “NCIS” (3.6/8 in 18-49, 15.4 million viewers overall) and “The Unit” (3.4/8 in 18-49, 11.9 million viewers overall), with the latter retaining most of its 18-49 lead-in from the military crime vet. Net slipped to third at 10 with a special repeat of “Without a Trace” (2.5/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall).

ABC was above average with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” at 8 (2.0/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall) and then had its best showing since November at 9 with a “Primetime: The Outsiders” episode devoted to polygamy (3.3/8 in 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall). “Boston Legal” (2.8/7 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) was about average at 10.

Final 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 12.1/28; NBC, 3.4/8; CBS, 3.2/8; ABC, 2.7/6; CW, 1.5/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 28.6 million; CBS, 11.9 million; NBC, 9.3 million; ABC, 8.1 million; CW, 3.4 million.

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