Fox, ‘Law’ wow on Wednesday

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

Fox controlled the first two hours of primetime Wednesday with “That ’70s Show,” “American Idol” and “The OC,” and NBC vet “Law & Order” took over at 10, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

The 30-minute results show edition of “Idol” was easily the night’s No. 1 program (9.4/26 in adults 18-49, 21.8 million viewers overall), but the net also led in adults 18-49 and other demos with both “That ’70s Show” at 8 (5.3/16 in adults 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall) and “The OC” at 9 (5.1/13 in adults 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall). “The OC” and “That ’70s Show” have both improved markedly since “Idol” became their skedmates in mid-January.

NBC took second place on the strength of “Law & Order” (6.0/16 in adults 18-49, 17.9 million viewers overall), which easily defeated CBS’ special “48 Hours” (2.8/8 in adults 18-49, 9.2 million viewers overall) and ABC’s “Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital” (2.4/6 in adults 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall). The Peacock’s “West Wing,” though, was a lightweight in the 9 o’clock hour, settling for third place in 18-49 (3.3/9, 11.0 million viewers overall).

Elsewhere, ABC was paced by a repeat “Extreme Makeover” at 9 (second-place 3.9/10 in adults 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall) and an original “My Wife and Kids” at 8 (second-place 3.3/10 in adults 18-49, 9.0 million viewers overall). A repeat “King of Queens” led CBS (3.4/9 in adults 18-49, 10.1 million viewers overall), but leadout laffer “The Stones” again struggled (2.4/6 in adults 18-49, 7.1 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 6.2/17; NBC, 3.9/11; ABC, 3.2/9; CBS, 2.6/7; WB, 1.1/3; UPN, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 14.0 million; NBC, 11.6 million; CBS, 9.3 million; ABC, 7.8 million; WB, 2.8 million; UPN, 2.1 million.

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