'Idol,' 'Fringe' bring in big numbers

NBC had a solid night with “The Biggest Loser” and “Law & Order: SVU,” but it was Fox that cruised to victory Tuesday behind a dominant “American Idol” and one of the best perfs yet for “Fringe.”

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” crushed everything in its path as usual during the 8 o’clock hour (9.9 rating/25 share in adults 18-49, 26.3 million viewers overall), rising a bit week to week as the competition enters the Hollywood round. It beat the combined scores of ABC, CBS, NBC and CW by 10% in 18-49.

And rookie drama “Fringe” followed up with winning scores (5.1/12 in 18-49, 13.0 million viewers overall), retaining an improved 51% of its “Idol” lead-in and matching its best delivery to date. It likely benefited from CBS being in repeat with its rookie drama hit “The Mentalist.”

Over at NBC, “Biggest Loser” (4.0/10 in 18-49, 10.5 million viewers overall) continues to shine, rising a whopping 33% above its performance on the same night a year ago and moving to the timeslot lead at 9:30 in 18-49 (5.1/12). And at 10, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall) dominated in all key demos.

CBS fared pretty well with repeats of “NCIS” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 14.4 million viewers overall) and “The Mentalist” (3.1/7 in 18-49, 15.0 million viewers overall), and then ran second in demos at 10 o’clock with an original “Without a Trace” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall).

ABC was a laggard throughout the night with its hodge-podge lineup of “Homeland Security” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 5.7 million viewers overall), “Scrubs” (2.1/5 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall for its hour) and “Primetime: What Would You Do?” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall).

CW enjoyed its best Tuesday since “American Idol” arrived on the scene, as both “90210” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall) and “Privileged” (0.8/2 in 18-49, 1.7 million viewers overall) perked up, with the latter seeing its best scores in key female demos since November. The network is shifting “90210” to 9 o’clock in coming weeks in a bid to get the rookie drama away from “Idol.”

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 7.5/18; NBC, 3.9/10; CBS, 2.9/7; ABC, 2.0/5; Univision, 1.8/5; CW, 1.0/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 19.7 million; CBS, 13.8 million; NBC, 10.4 million; ABC, 5.4 million; Univision, 4.6 million; CW, 2.1 million.

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