Show falls 24% from last year's May sweeps

While “American Idol” once again ruled the Wednesday night airwaves, the Fox behemoth continues to show considerable slippage.

Compared with a year ago, “Idol” dropped 24% in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. On a night in which highly emotional contestant Brooke White said goodbye and host Ryan Seacrest assured viewers that Paula Abdul’s job was secure, “Idol” registered an 8.4/21 share in 18-49, with 22.8 million viewers overall during the 9 o’clock hour.

Looking back at the same week during last year’s May sweeps, that “Idol” results show earned an 11.0/28 in 18-49, and 28.7 million viewers.

After the first week of this year’s May sweeps, Fox is leading the pack with 3.6/10 in 18-49, down 16% from last year.

Fox won the night with a 5.2/14 and 14.1 million viewers overall, nearly doubling second-place CBS (2.7/7, 10.5m) in 18-49. NBC (2.3/6, 8.4m) came in third while ABC (2.1/6, 6.2m) and the CW (1.5/4, 3.2m) trailed.

CBS continued to receive strong results from procedural “Criminal Minds” (3.3/8, 13.0), which was just slightly below last year’s May sweeps numbers and was the most watched show of the evening after “Idol.”

The Eye took a hit, however, when trying to find a replacement for “Big Brother,” which ended last week. Net moved over “The Price Is Right” from Fridays — where it was performing well — to go up against “Deal or No Deal.” In the 8 o’clock gameshow showdown, “Deal” (2.0/6, 7.9m) narrowly edged the Drew Carey-hosted “Price” (1.7/5, 7.1m) in the first time the two have ever gone head to head this season.

At 9 o’clock, the CW premiered “Farmer Wants a Wife” (1.0/3, 2.3m) to numbers that were just a tad below the final episode of last week’s final installment of “Girlicious.”

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