Fox’s ‘Idol,’ ’24’ growing

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

As if Fox’s Tuesday lineup isn’t hot enough already, this week “American Idol” and “24” combined for their best delivery yet, carrying Fox to a clean sweep of the night in all key demo categories, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

At 8, “American Idol,” with contestants singing their favorite Bee Gees hits, averaged a huge 9.8/28 among adults 18-49 and 21.7 million viewers overall – its best delivery in the hour since its second week in late January. It more than tripled the 18-49 score of ABC’s second-place comedies (2.7/8). “24” followed with its best-ever numbers (6.5/16 in adults 18-49, 13.6 million viewers overall), dominating its hour in every under-55 adult category. Both “Idol” and “24” wrap up their seasons on May 20.

ABC was second in most key measures, led by “NYPD Blue” (4.4/12 in adults 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall), which swept its hour in 18-49, 25-54 and 18-34. From 8 to 10, net’s comedy block ran second in 18-49 during each half-hour, paced by “According to Jim” at 9 (3.9/10 in adults 18-49, 9.4 million viewers overall), which edged out NBC’s “Frasier” (3.8/10 in adults 18-49, 10.7 million viewers overall) – although a tie is likely when nationals are issued. At 9:30, “Less Than Perfect” (3.5/9 in adults 18-49, 8.6 million viewers overall) similarly edged out the Peacock’s “Watching Ellie” (3.4/8 in adults 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall).

CBS ran third in demos, led as usual by “Judging Amy” (3.6/9 in adults 18-49, 13 million viewers overall), which topped its hour in total viewers. NBC had a slow night, as even a special “Dateline” hour devoted to the 200th episode of “ER” fizzled (3.3/9 in adults 18-49). From 8 to 9, “Outrageous Game Show Moments 5” (2.2/6 in adults 18-49) didn’t do much opposite “Idol.”

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 8.2/22; ABC, 3.6/10; NBC, 3.0/8; CBS, 2.8/7.

In total viewers: Fox led with 17.7 million.

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