'Idol,' Pro Bowl help net take six nights in key demo

Fox kicked its season into high gear last week, riding two nights of “American Idol” and good ratings for football’s Pro Bowl to a dominant demo victory.

The net actually won six nights in 18-49, taking Monday thanks to “House” and notching another triumph on Friday with “Fringe,” which has made a successful move from Thursday. And for its (substantial) part, “Idol” held up very well in its second week, remaining comfortably ahead of any other series in the 18-49 rankings.

Overall, according to “live plus same-day” Nielsen estimates for the week of Jan. 24-30, Fox cruised in adults 18-49 with a 4.2 rating/12 share — more than doubling the delivery of any of its rivals and locking up the most dominant victory for any network this season. It was followed by CBS (1.8/5), ABC (1.7/5), NBC (1.6/5), Univision (1.3/4) and ESPN and CW (both 0.8/2).

Fox also won with ease in both adults 25-54 (4.8/12 to 2.6/7 for CBS) and total viewers (12 million to 9.1 million for CBS).

“American Idol” impressed both on Wednesday (9.2/24 in 18-49, 25.33 million viewers overall) and Thursday (7.7/21, 22.48m), retaining 95% or more of its demo perf from premiere week — the show’s best hold in five years. The Thursday seg led into the top-rated “Bones” in 18-49 (3.9/10, 12.05m) in four years.

Also for the net, “House” won its Monday hour (3.7/10, 10.45m), “Fringe” again led its Friday hour in demos (1.9/6 in 18-49, 4.53m), and football’s Pro Bowl on Sunday (4.7/13 in 18-49, 13.41m) was the event’s most watched in 14 years.

CBS, many of whose shows were in repeat or preempted, was led by Wednesday’s original “Criminal Minds” (3.2/8, 12.77m), which placed in the week’s top 10 despite opposing “American Idol.”

Also of note, the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of “The Lost Valentine” on Sunday drew the franchise’s best 18-49 score (2.3/6) in a little over two years and its largest overall audience (14.64 million) in four years.

ABC, kept out of the week’s top 10, was paced by “The Bachelor” (2.9/8 in 18-49, 9.28m) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.7/7, 9.07m), with the latter hitting a season high in 18-49 and a two-year high in kids and teens.

In its third week, Wednesday drama “Off the Map” is hanging in there (1.8/5, 5.06m) despite a weaker lead-in from “Cougar Town” (2.0/5, 5.03m).

NBC was led by “The Office” (4.0/11, 7.93m), with lead-out “Parks and Recreation” (3.0/8, 5.83m) doing well enough to rank 10th for the week in 18-49; also on the net’s all-comedy Thursday was an improved perf at 10:30 p.m. from “Outsourced” (1.9/6, 4.13m), which logged a timeslot high for the season.

Among new shows, Monday’s “The Cape” is struggling (1.6/4, 5.85m), but the show following it, “Harry’s Law” (2.1/6, 10.43m), held up well in its second outing.

CW, which continues to track ahead of last year in some categories, welcomed back some shows, including “Hellcats” in its new Tuesday timeslot (0.9/2, 2.15m) and Thursday’s “The Vampire Diaries” (1.6/4, 3.33m) and “Nikita” (1.1/3, 2.62m); all three were up vs. their most recent original episodes, with “Nikita” logging some of its best demos since October.

President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday drew a combined average aud of 42.8 million viewers on 11 broadcast and cable networks — down from the 52.4 million who watched his address to the Joint Sessions of Congress in February 2009 and the 48 million who watched his inaugural SOTU last year. Ratings for individual networks were not released by Nielsen, as they are sustained and will not count in nightly or seasonal averages; Fox News led the cable pack with 4.96 million, followed by CNN (2.98 million) and MSNBC (2.50 million).

In cable, History had a strong Monday as the combination of “American Pickers” at 9 (2.0/5 in 18-49, 6.20m) and “Pawn Stars” (2.8/8, 6.99m) beat out NBC’s dramas in 18-49, with “Pawn” standing as TV’s No. 1 show of the night in men 18-49 (3.6/10).

MTV’s “Jersey Shore” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 8.83m) again dominated its Thursday hour in key demos and edged out Wednesday’s “Idol” as the top show of the week in persons 12-34 (7.4 to 7.3 rating). Also for MTV, “Teen Mom” hit season highs (2.3/6, 3.05m)

A&E was cable’s No. 1 network in 18-49 and 25-54 on Wednesday behind the largest aud yet for “Storage Wars” (1.5/4 in 18-49, 3.32m) and the most-watched episode since 2006 for “Dog the Bounty Hunter” (1.3/4, 3.04m), which was celebrating its 200th episode.

Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 4.38m) ranked among TV’s top 20 primetime shows for the week in 18-49 and was Sunday’s No. 1 series in women 18-49 (3.4/10).

Showtime’s “Shameless” is holding up well after four airings, with its delivery on Sunday (1.11 million viewers plus 345,000 for an encore) up vs. its premiere in all key categories. Its premiere episode has drawn more than 3.6 million viewers across all platforms, the best debut week to date for a Showtime drama.

Also: TNT and TBS’ simulcast of “The 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards” on Sunday averaged 5 million viewers, up 6% vs. last year; CMT’s first scripted series, “Working Class,” averaged 1.16 million viewers in its debut Friday; TNT’s “Southland” hit a season high Tuesday (2.20 million); and the second-season finale of the Style Network’s “Jerseylicious” drew 925,000 viewers Sunday, making it the most-watched telecast in the cabler’s history.

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