'Idol,' 'Moment of Truth' secure ratings victory

“American Idol” and another potent performance by “The Moment of Truth” led Fox to a ratings victory on Wednesday, a night with even stronger reality competition than usual thanks to a special episode of CBS’ “Survivor.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Moment of Truth” kicked things off for Fox with strong numbers (4.1 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall), building sharply in the 8:30 half-hour leading into “American Idol” (9.6/24 in 18-49, 25.5 million viewers overall). “Moment” won its hour among adults 18-49, while “Idol” beat its combined ABC-CBS-NBC-CW competition in the 9 o’clock hour by 6 shares in the demo.

CBS moved up to second on the night thanks to an off-night special airing of “Survivor: Micronesia” (3.6/10 in 18-49, 11.3 million viewers overall), which was runner-up in the 8 o’clock hour among 18-49 while winning in 25-54 (4.7/12) and total viewers. While this was a low rating by “Survivor” standards, it was a big improvement for CBS in the time period and helped lift “Big Brother” to above-average scores as it moved up to the 9 o’clock hour (third-place 2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall). A repeat of “CSI: NY” closed out the night for the Eye (1.8/5 in 18-49, 6.2 million viewers overall).

At ABC, “Wife Swap” was deluged by the reality competition at 8 o’clock (2.1/6 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) but the net moved up to (a distant) second place an hour later with “Supernanny” (2.6/6 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall). Momentum stalled there, however, as “Men in Trees” was chopped to a 1.6/4 in 18-49 and 5.8 million viewers overall, finishing third among the broadcast networks.

NBC was weak opening the night with repeats of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” at 8 o’clock (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) and 9 o’clock (1.7/4 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) but moved to the timeslot lead at 10 p.m. with a firstrun “Law & Order” (3.0/8 in 18-49, 10.4 million viewers overall).

CW was competitive at 8 o’clock with “America’s Next Top Model” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall), placing second in both adults 18-34 (2.2/7) and females 12-34 (2.8/9).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 6.8/18; CBS, 2.6/7; ABC, 2.1/6; NBC, 2.0/5; Univision, 1.8/5; CW, 1.3/4.

In total viewers: Fox, 18.1 million; CBS, 8.1 million; NBC, 7.6 million; ABC, 6.2 million; Univision, 4.0 million; CW, 2.7 million.


TV Ratings
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 (*millions)





















Top Show Total
American Idol (Fox) 25.5 mil
Top Shows A18-49
American Idol (FOX) 9.6/24
The Moment of Truth (FOX) 4.1/12
Survivor (CBS) 3.6/10
FOX 6.8/18
CBS 2.6/7
ABC 2.1/6
NBC 2.0/5

from Nielsen Media Research – preliminary results

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