Cable news networks likely boosted their deliveries with primary coverage, but Super Tuesday was no boon to the broadcasters in primetime. Fox, as usual, dominated the night with “American Idol” and “House.”
According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” (11.2 rating/28 share in adults 18-49, 27.8 million viewers overall) was up a bit week to week and nearly doubled the combined demo delivery in the 8 o’clock hour of ABC, CBS and NBC. “House” followed with its best regular-slot numbers of the season (9.0/21 in 18-49, 23.2 million viewers overall), beating its combined ABC-CBS-NBC competition by 45% in the 18-49 demo.
ABC, which turned over its entire primetime schedule to coverage of the day’s presidential primaries, settled for a 1.4 rating/3 share in adults 18-49 and 5.3 million viewers overall — on par with its weak performance on the night last Tuesday.
CBS finished slightly behind ABC from 9 to 11 p.m. with its two hours of Super Tuesday coverage (1.3/3 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall) after opening the night stronger with a repeat of “NCIS” (1.8/4 in 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall).
NBC was the top-rated alternative to Fox from 8 to 10 p.m. with its two-hour “Biggest Loser” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall), and then took the lead at 10 o’clock with Super Tuesday coverage (2.1/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall). Though NBC was the leader when the three broadcast news divisions went head-to-head at 10 o’clock, the network came in more than 25% lower in the 18-49 demo vs. its performance a week earlier with a repeat of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
CW ran third in key younger demos during the 9 o’clock hour with “One Tree Hill” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.8 million viewers overall).
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 10.1/24, NBC, 2.8/7; CBS and Univision, 1.5/4; ABC, 1.4/3; CW, 1.0/2.
In total viewers: Fox, 25.5 million; NBC, 7.2 million; CBS, 6.1 million; ABC, 5.3 million; Univision, 3.5 million; CW, 2.4 million.