Eclectic mix boosts demo dominance

Fox made it look easy in primetime last week, routing its rivals in key demos behind “American Idol,” “House” and another Sunday surge from NASCAR.

As “American Idol” entered the elimination rounds, the show crushed everything in its path. And in a frame when President Obama’s speech Tuesday knocked out an hour off the week, the music talent skein accounted for more than 21% of Fox’s schedule (three of 14 hours).

As a result, Fox rolled to victory in adults 18-49 with a 4.1 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 — a whopping 64% ahead of second-place ABC and CBS (2.5/7). NBC ran fourth (2.2/6), followed by Univision (1.5/4), USA (1.1/3) and TBS (0.9/3).

Net cruised as well in adults 25-54 (4.8/12), those 12-34 (3.1/10) and even edged out CBS in total viewers (11.2 million to 11.0 million).

For Fox, the two-hour “American Idol” performance show, pushed back a day by the Obama address, stood well ahead of the primetime pack with a 9.1 rating/23 share in adults 18-49 and 24.54 million viewers overall. And Thursday’s results show may have been low by “Idol” standards, but still finished No. 2 for the frame (7.1/19, 20.89m).

Also, Monday’s “House” was the week’s No. 1 scripted skein in demos (5.5/15 in 18-49, 14.86m), and “Hell’s Kitchen” cooked up some tasty ratings on Thursday (4.3/11, 9.85m) behind “Idol.”

And one week after putting up the best challenge to ABC’s Oscars telecast, a NASCAR race lifted the net to a strong showing on Sunday. The final 90 minutes of action from Las Vegas averaged a dominant 4.4/13 in 18-49.

ABC was repped in the top 10 by “Lost” (4.4/11 in 18-49, 10.05m) and Sunday’s two-hour “Brothers and Sisters” (4.1/10, 11.98m), which drew the show’s best ratings since its season preem in September (Daily Variety, March 2).

Also, Monday’s finale of “True Beauty” (3.2/9 in 18-49, 7.43m) matched its best delivery to date, airing behind “The Bachelor: The Women Tell All” (3.7/9, 10.93m).

CBS was paced by “CSI” (4.3/11, 17.72m), although it was on the low side considering it faced repeats of its scripted competish. Net also received a winning perf from Tuesday’s “NCIS” (3.9/11, 18.27m), and Friday’s “Ghost Whisperer” (2.7/9, 11.54m) won its hour by a big 4 shares in 18-49.

Sunday’s Tom Selleck telepic “Jesse Stone: Thin Ice” drew a strong 15.24 million viewers (ranking fifth for the week in overall audience) despite earning just a 5 share in 18-49.

NBC’s best news came Sunday for the two-hour season preem of “Celebrity Apprentice” (3.9/9, 8.84m), which helped strengthen one of the net’s weakest nights since football ended.

Peacock also has to be pleased with Thursday’s “30 Rock” (2.9/7, 6.36m), whose original seg built nicely on its repeat “The Office” lead-in (2.4/6, 5.29m), including a 26% build in 18-34 (3.4/10 vs. 2.7/8). It led into the best-rated hour of “ER” (3.4/9, 8.72m) since Dec. 11.

MyNetwork drew slightly better numbers than repeat-riddled CW, with the former pinning down its largest overall to date for “WWE Friday Night Smackdown” (1.4/4, 4.00m).

USA remained the top-rated cabler, boosted by Monday’s huge perf for “WWE Raw” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 6.01m for its two hours) and Thursday drama “Burn Notice” (1.6/4, 4.85m).

Also of note, Bravo’s “Top Chef” capped its highest-rated season to date on Wednesday (2.1/6 in 18-49, 3.74m), ranking as cable’s top nonsports telecast of the week in 18-49.

And the season finale of “The Girls Next Door” on E! was Sunday’s top cable program in demos (1.5/4 in 18-49, 2.54m), the net’s best showing for a series telecast since “The Anna Nicole Show” in 2002.

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