Fox’s ‘Idol,’ ’24’ sweep aside rivals

Net doubles closest competitor (ABC) in 18-49 demo

Stepped-up sweeps competish didn’t slow down Fox’s strong Tuesday lineup, as both “American Idol” and “24” easily led their hours in the key young-adult demos.

ABC and the WB also showed year-to-year growth on the night, while Dr. Phil gave a boost to NBC’s “Frasier,” although the vet laffer remains well below last year’s levels.

According to Nielsen, Fox cruised to victory in adults 18-49 on the May sweep’s opening Tuesday (7.7/21), more than doubling the score of runner-up ABC (3.5/9). Net also led easily in 25-54, 18-34 and total viewers.

“American Idol” (9.7/27 in adults 18-49, 20.37 million viewers overall) again topped its combined major-net competish from 8 to 9 and was up a tick week-to-week despite facing original competish on the other five broadcast nets. At 9, “24” (5.8/15 in A18-49, 12.05m) scored a decisive demo victory and was up 38% year-to-year vs. its May 2002 average.

ABC, up 17% vs. the opening Tuesday last year (series finales of “Dharma & Greg” and “Spin City”), was led by “NYPD Blue” (4.4/12 in A18-49, 11.42m), which led at 10 in the demo. The WB improved by 10% in adults 18-34 year-to-year, as both “Gilmore Girls” (2.6/8) and “Smallville” (4.0/11) placed second to Fox in their hours.

NBC was led by “Frasier” (4.2/11 in A18-49, 11.08m), which placed second to “24” in 18-49 but was down 26% year-to-year. From 10 to 11, Matt Lauer’s chat with Madonna led “Dateline” to a second-place 18-49 finish (4.1/11) and a victory in 18-34 (3.8/12).

At CBS, both “Judging Amy” (3.8/10 in A18-49, 13.15m) and “JAG” (2.6/7 in A18-49, 13.63m) placed second among adults 25-54. At 9, “The Guardian” tied with “24” for the hour’s lead in total viewers (12.05m) despite a fifth-place 18-49 finish 18-49 (2.7/7).

UPN’s “Platinum” (1.2/3 in adults 18-34) was up slightly week-to-week, retaining 71% of its “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” lead-in. Although net promos dub it as “the hottest show on television,” the hip-hop drama came in 25% below what “Roswell” delivered in the hour a year ago (1.6/4).

Cabler TNT was a factor on the night, as its Lakers-Timberwolves NBA playoff contest (4.60m) grabbed a 12 share in men 18-34.

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