'Idol' beats out Big 3 in ratings race

With President Barack Obama’s press conference disrupting the Big 3 networks’ 8 p.m. programming, Fox was easily the champ Wednesday night — although the net would’ve been tops anyway with an elimination round of “American Idol” soundly defeating all competitors.

“Idol” earned a 7.5 rating/19 share in the 18-49 demo, where 21.8 million viewers tuned in to see Matt Giraud say goodbye. Also in the same 9 p.m. timeslot, the 100th episode of “Lost” (3.9/10, 8.8m) was the second-highest rated show of the night, yet it wasn’t enough for ABC to overtake CBS.

Fox, along with the CW, had decided a few days earlier not to broadcast the president’s presser and that helped “Lie to Me” (2.4/7, 7.8m) at 8 o’clock, though the competition wasn’t typical. Following the president, some affiliates aired local programming in the 8:30 half-hour until getting back to its network skeds at 9 and fast affiliate numbers for the 8 o’clock hour are inaccurate.

Obama’s presence may have helped the CW’s “America’s Next Top Model” (1.8/6, 4m), which defeated “Lie to Me” in adults 18-34 and women 18-34.

While “Lost” had a higher rating, CBS’ “Criminal Minds” (3.3/8, 13.2m) drew significantly more viewers and was the second-most watched show Wednesday behind “Idol.” Eye companion “CSI: NY” (3.2/9, 12.4m) was third as the net continues to draw audiences with a lineup heavy on procedurals.

Also at 10, “The Unusuals” (3.2/9, 5m) — fighting for a spot on the Alphabet’s fall lineup to be announced in three weeks — saw a very slight uptick in overall viewers from a week ago. Skein was last in the hour, however, behind “CSI: NY” and “Law & Order” (2.26/7.6m).

According to Nielsen, the press conference was viewed by 28.8 million people, a significant drop from the president’s last primetime press conference on March 24. Just over 40 million viewers tuned in that night, and 49.5 million saw his Feb. 9 presser.

On the cable side, Obama was good to Fox News (2.6m), which defeated both CNN (2.1m) and MSNBC (1.7m) in the 8 o’clock hour.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 5.0/14; CBS, 2.6/7; ABC, 2.4/7; NBC, 1.7/5; Univision, 1.5/4 CW, 1.2/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 14.8 million; CBS, 10.5 million; ABC, 6.6 million; NBC, 6.3 million; Univision, 3.6 million; CW, 2.6 million.

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