'Idol,' 'Kitchen' wins the night

Fox rolled to another easy Tuesday ratings victory behind “American Idol” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” with the cooking competition racking up some of its best numbers to date.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” (8.7 rating/24 share in adults 18-49, 24.4 million viewers overall) beat the other broadcast networks combined in the night’s opening hour, although it was down slightly week to week to perhaps its lowest Tuesday demo scores in five years. “Hell’s Kitchen” followed (5.5/14 in 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall), winning the 9 o’clock hour in demos and matching its season high. “Kitchen” also held on to more of its “Idol” lead-in than previous weeks, with Tuesday’s 18-49 retention expected to come in at a bit above 60%.

The rest of the nets fought for scraps, with CBS looking good to start the night with “NCIS” (second-place 3.0/8 in 18-49, 14.6 million viewers overall) and ABC a strong second in demos and first in total viewers at 9 o’clock with “Dancing With the Stars Results” (projected 4.1/10 in 18-49, 17.2 million viewers overall from 9 to 10:02 p.m.).

At CBS, “Shark” (2.2/5 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall) did decently in its first outing behind “NCIS,” coming in a tad below what “Big Brother” had been averaging in the slot and ranking third for its hour. But ABC rookie “Women’s Murder Club” didn’t exactly kill in its tryout at 10 o’clock (projected 1.7/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall), placing third among the broadcast networks.

NBC posted tiny numbers for its 90-minute “Saturday Night Live” special featuring Alec Baldwin skits (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.1 million viewers overall) but surged at 10 o’clock with “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 12.1 million viewers overall). Featuring Robin Williams as a guest star in the show’s 200th episode, “SVU” beat ABC’s “Women’s Murder Club” and CBS’ “CSI” repeat (2.0/5 in 18-49, 7.6 million viewers overall) combined in demos.

At CW, both “Beauty and the Geek” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 1.6 million viewers overall) and “Reaper” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 2.5 million viewers overall) were up a tick week-to-week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 7.1/19; ABC and CBS, 2.4/6; NBC, 2.1/6; Univision, 1.9/5; CW, 0.9/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 18.4 million; CBS, 10.8 million; ABC, 9.6 million; NBC, 6.3 million; Univision, 4.2 million; CW, 2.1 million.

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