'NCIS' Remains Titan on Tuesday —

CBS' 'Golden Boy' dips in second week as NBC's 'Smash' hits new low

As ratings drifted ever downward for more shows on Tuesday — including a very low score for NBC’s “Smash” — CBS vet “NCIS” edged out Fox’s special “American Idol” among young adults in their head-to-head showdown. Though Fox won the night in demos with its two-hour “Idol,” the show is looking more mortal than monster these days.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “NCIS” averaged a 3.3 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 20.3 million viewers overall in the 8 o’clock hour, edging out “American Idol” head-to-head in 18-49 and ruling as the night’s No. 1 program in 25-54 (5.1/13) and total viewers. “NCIS” virtually matched its week-ago averages, as did 9 p.m. spinoff “NCIS: Los Angeles” (2.8/7 in 18-49, 15.9 million viewers overall), which beat “Idol” in 25-54 and total viewers. Closing out the night for CBS, rookie “Golden Boy” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 9.3 million viewers overall) dropped from last week’s 1.8 premiere score in the demo, but again led among the broadcast networks for the hour. The show, which performed roughly on par with regular slot occupant “Vegas,” now shifts to its regular Friday 9 p.m. timeslot.

At Fox, a special two-hour “American Idol” averaged a 3.4/9 in 18-49 and 11.5 million viewers overall, down 13% from last week’s Wednesday edition and the lowest in-season score on record for the show. It lost roughly a third of its young-adult audience compared with the same Tuesday special in early March a year ago. On the plus side, it did edge out “NCIS” as the top program of the night in 18-49 (despite losing to it head-to-head) and Fox won the night in 18-49 and 25-54.

It was slow going at ABC, where “Celebrity Wife Swap” settled for a 1.5/4 in 18-49 and 4.1 million viewers overall after opening considerably stronger a week ago (2.4/7 in the demo); it will be replaced in a couple of weeks by “Splash.” Cooking contest “The Taste” followed at 9 (1.2/3 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall) as it limps to its conclusion next week. And holding steady at 10 p.m. was crime drama “Body of Proof” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall).

NBC fared even worse, opening with encores of “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers,” which averaged a 1.1/3 in 18-49 and 3.6 million viewers overall for the 8 o’clock hour. “Go On” matched its low score of last week at 9 (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.0 million viewers overall), and “The New Normal” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall) and “Smash” (0.7/2 in 18-49, 2.6 million viewers overall) followed with series lows. “Smash” could benefit from the return of “The Voice” to Tuesdays at the end of the month, but for now it’s on cancellation watch.

At CW, “Hart of Dixie” probably locked up a third-season renewal with another solid outing (0.6/2 in 18-49, 1.4 million viewers overall), rising to a 0.7/2 in the net’s target demo of adults 18-34. In 18-34 across the sked last week, only “Arrow” performed better for CW. “Hart of Dixie” was followed on Tuesday by a special repeat of “Beauty and the Beast” (0.3/1 in 18-49, 0.8 million viewers overall), which performed as well as an original episode of “Cult” a week ago.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 3.4/9; CBS, 2.6/7; Univision, 1.8/5; ABC, 1.3/4; NBC, 0.9/3; CW, 0.4/1.
In total viewers: CBS, 15.2 million; Fox, 11.5 million; ABC, 4.6 million; Univision, 4.3 million; NBC, 3.0 million; CW, 1.1 million.

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