Reality shows heat up ratings for Fox

Another dominant showing by “American Idol” and a nice debut from “Hell’s Kitchen” carried Fox to another Tuesday night ratings victory. ABC and NBC also scored with reality on the night, while a special “CSI: Miami” clicked for CBS.

According to preliminary affiliate-based estimates from Nielsen, “American Idol” was easily the night’s top program, averaging a 9.3 rating/25 share in adults 18-49 in the 8 o’clock hour, beating its combined ABC-CBS-NBC-CW competition by 6 shares in the demo. At 9 o’clock, “Hell’s Kitchen” — which has usually aired in the summer — opened its first in-season edition with a series-best 5.7/14 in 18-49 and 12.6 million viewers overall. (Note: The “Kitchen” numbers could drop a bit as “Idol” spilled into the 9 o’clock hour.)

At ABC, following a weak showing by “Just For Laughs” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 5.5 million viewers overall), the “Dancing With the Stars” results show delivered a second-place demo finish (projected 4.0/10 in 18-49, 17.3 million viewers overall from 9 to 10:02 p.m.), on par with the previous week. Closing out the night, the ABC News special “Live to Be 150″ averaged a projected second-place 2.4/6 in 18-49 and 9.9 million viewers overall.

CBS wasn’t much of a factor with a repeat “NCIS” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 10.2 million viewers overall) or “Big Brother” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall) but shot up at 10 o’clock with a special firstrun episode of “CSI: Miami” (4.1/11 in 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall), the conclusion of a two-part episode originating the previous night. Though down about 15% from its Monday average, this did rep the best drama performance for CBS in the timeslot in five years (since “Judging Amy”).

At NBC, “Biggest Loser” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) was up week to week as it nears its season finale, nearly catching ABC’s “Dancing” for second place in the 18-49 demo at 9:30. A repeat “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” at 10 o’clock (2.1/6 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall) was on the low end, seemingly affected by the special “CSI: Miami” competition.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 7.5/19; CBS and NBC, 2.9/7; ABC, 2.6/7; Univision, 1.8/5; CW, 0.7/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 18.9 million; ABC, 10.9 million; CBS, 10.3 million; NBC, 7.4 million; Univision, 4.1 million; CW, 1.6 million.

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