Beat the combined demos of competition

Fox made it look easy once again on Wednesday as a 90-minute edition of “American Idol” beat the combined demo deliveries of ABC, CBS, NBC and CW.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” averaged a 10.4 rating/26 share in adults 18-49 and 27.4 million viewers overall from 8 to 9:30 p.m., peaking with nearly 30 million viewers in its final half-hour. A special episode of rookie comedy “Back to You” followed at 9:30 (4.4/11 in 18-49, 12.3 million viewers overall), posting numbers similar to those it delivered in the same timeslot on Tuesday night.

NBC ran second on the night, though it didn’t do a whole lot early with “Deal or No Deal” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall) or “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (2.2/5 in 18-49, 8.3 million viewers overall). Its star was 10 o’clock drama “Law & Order,” which won the hour with a six-week high (3.4/9 in 18-49, 11.4 million viewers overall).

CBS was up week to week with “Big Brother” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) and repeats of “Criminal Minds” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) and “CSI: NY” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 8.0 million viewers overall).

ABC was one of the distant runners-up to “Idol” at 8 o’clock with “Wife Swap” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall) before moving up to second place at 9 p.m. with “Supernanny” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall). Net’s momentum stalled there, though, as the slot debut of “Men in Trees” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) performed about the same in the time period as struggling first-year show “Cashmere Mafia.”

At CW, “America’s Next Top Model” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) was up week to week, placing second at 8 o’clock to “Idol” among adults 18-34 (2.6/7).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 8.9/23; NBC, 2.6/7; ABC, 2.4/6; CBS, 2.2/6; Univision, 1.6/4; CW, 1.5/4.

In total viewers: Fox, 23.6 million; NBC, 9.7 million; CBS, 7.3 million; ABC, 6.6 million; Univision, 3.5 million; CW, 2.9 million.

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