'Top Model' bows 12th edition to solid numbers

Fox’s “American Idol” rolled to victory in demos on Wednesday, chomping up its rather lackluster competition in the night’s opening hour. ABC’s “Lost” remained solid, as did CW’s “America’s Next Top Model,” which opened its 12th edition.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” (7.7 rating/21 share in adults 18-49, 22.5 million viewers overall) beat its combined ABC-CBS-NBC-CW competition by 20% in adults 18-49, although this was its lowest Wednesday rating of the season; it was also off noticeably vs. the comparable night a year ago. And at 9, “Lie to Me” (3.6/9 in 18-49, 10.2 million viewers overall) placed second in demos with its lowest score to date, although its retention of “Idol” remained about the same.

Runner-up ABC led the night’s middle hour with an average rating for “Lost” (4.8/12 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall), leading in to a slightly stronger performance for “Life on Mars” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall), which was facing repeats of CBS’ “CSI: NY” (2.7/8 in 18-49, 10.9 million viewers overall) and NBC’s “Law & Order” (1.6/4 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall).

At CW, the two-hour season premiere of “America’s Next Top Model” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall) was up slightly vs. its most recent launch last September, predictably building sharply in its second hour after “American Idol” wrapped up. “Model” ranked third from 8 to 10 p.m. in adults 18-34 (2.1/6) and second in women 18-34 (3.4/9).

CBS, in repeats all night, was led by “CSI: NY” and 9 o’clock drama “Criminal Minds” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall).

NBC saw the best scores in a while for “Knight Rider” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.8 million viewers overall), which aired its finale. It out-rated the net’s repeats of “Life” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 4.6 million viewers overall) and “Law & Order.”

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 5.7/15; ABC, 2.9/8; CBS, 2.2/6; CW, 1.8/5; Univision, 1.7/4; NBC, 1.5/4.

In total viewers: Fox, 16.3 million; CBS, 8.9 million; ABC, 7.0 million; NBC, 5.4 million; Univision, 4.0 million; CW, 3.9 million.

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