Lie-detector show falls off by 20%

The unscripted combo of “American Idol” and “The Moment of Truth” carried Fox to another easy victory Wednesday night, even if the latter lie-detector show fell off in its second week. And ABC had reason to be encouraged by a repeat of last May’s season finale of “Lost,” leading up to that show’s return tonight.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen that include same-night DVR playback, “American Idol” put up more big numbers in the opening hour (9.9 rating/26 share in adults 18-49, 25.3 million viewers overall), beating its combined ABC-CBS-NBC competition by 65% in the demo despite a 10% week-to-week decline.

Fox then remained comfortably on top at 9 o’clock with week two of “The Moment of Truth” (7.8/19 in 18-49, 17.9 million viewers overall), which fell off by about 20% from its premiere but more than doubled or tripled its closest pursuers in most categories. It retained a very good 79% of its “Idol” lead-in among adults 18-49 and 85% among adults 18-34 (7.6/21 vs. 8.9/26). This is a stronger hold of “Idol” than even “House” on Tuesday, and “Moment” stands as the season’s top-rated new program in all key categories.

At ABC, following “Wife Swap” at 8 o’clock (2.2/6 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall), the two-hour “Lost” finale from last season, enhanced with on-screen facts and back story, averaged a solid 3.3/8 in 18-49 and 8.5 million viewers overall. It ran second in demos to “Moment of Truth” at 9 o’clock and then moved to the lead at 10, improving upon the Alphabet’s weak performance on the night a year ago with comedies and newsmag “Primetime” by a big 65%.

NBC placed third on the night with its lineup of a repeat “Deal or No Deal” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 9.8 million viewers overall), followed by “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 8.9 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order” (3.1/8 in 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall). The original “L&O” at 10 o’clock won its timeslot in total viewers.

CBS wasn’t much of a factor on the night although it showed gains in the 8 o’clock hour by dumping gameshow “Power of 10″ for repeats of comedy “Old Christine” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall). Repeats of “Criminal Minds” (2.2/5 in 18-49, 8.8 million viewers overall) and “CSI: NY” (1.9/5 in 18-49, 7.3 million viewers overall) placed third in most categories from 9 to 11.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 8.9/22; ABC, 3.0/8; NBC, 2.6/7; CBS, 1.9/5; Univision, 1.8/5; CW, 0.5/1.

In total viewers: Fox, 21.6 million; NBC, 10.0 million; ABC, 7.6 million; CBS, 7.0 million; Univision, 4.0 million; CW, 1.2 million.

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