Fox leads the night as CBS surges with 'NCIS'

As shows near the end of their seasons, ratings are picking up, including most of the series on Tuesday, where every major net gained week to week. Fox led the night in key demos behind “American Idol” and “Glee,” but CBS moved up to second as a surging “NCIS” lifted the entire night.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, performances by this season’s final four “American Idol” contestants lifted the show to a dominant victory in Tuesday’s opening hour (6.7/18 in 18-49, 18.7 million viewers overall) up 8% from the show’s below-par result of the previous week. It was followed by “Glee” (4.8/12 in 18-49, 11.7 million viewers overall), which was the night’s top scripted program in all under-50 categories and was in line with its recent deliveries.

CBS saw “NCIS” (3.8/10 in 18-49, 16.9 million viewers overall) bounce back from its own below-average delivery of the previous week, building more than 20% to rank a solid second in 18-49, 25-54 and total viewers. That growth helped lead-out “NCIS: Los Angeles” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 15.9 million viewers overall) show nice gains as well, and at 10, “The Good Wife” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 12.9 million viewers overall), was neck and neck with “Parenthood” for the lead in 18-49 while winning by 2 shares in adults 25-54 (3.6/9). Both “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “Good Wife” led their timeslots in total viewers, and the Eye edged out Fox for the night’s lead in overall audience.

ABC is expected to see all three of its shows edge up vs. last week as well, starting with the “Dancing With the Stars” results show (2.5/7 in 18-49, 12.4 million viewers overall), which remained fourth in demos in its crowded hour. At 9, “Lost” (4.0/10 in 18-49, 10.2 million viewers overall) should rise a tick in the nationals for its best numbers since March, and “V” improved its renewal chances by rising week to week to a competitive demo finish at 10 o’clock (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall); even if “V” dips a tick in the nationals to 2.3, as expected, it would be up 10% week to week.

At NBC, “The Biggest Loser” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall) rose 6% week to week to match its best score of the past three months, and “Parenthood” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) narrowly won the 10 o’clock hour in demos and edged up vs. last week.

CW saw now gains for its struggling sophomore drama “90210″ (0.7/2 in 18-49, 1.5 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 5.7/15; CBS, 3.2/8; NBC, 3.1/8; ABC, 3.0/8; Univision, 1.6/4; CW, 0.5/1,

In total viewers: CBS, 15.3 million; Fox, 15.2 million; ABC, 9.5 million; NBC, 7.6 million; Univision, 3.8 million; CW, 1.1 million.

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