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‘Idol’ dispatches ‘Century’ in little time

Legal skein is Eye's weakest 18-49 preem in five years

The future isn’t looking especially bright for CBS drama “Century City,” which bowed weakly Tuesday opposite Fox’s “American Idol” juggernaut.

According to Nielsen nationals, the futuristic legal series averaged a 2.1 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 — the lowest premiere result for an Eye drama in at least five years — and 8.86 million viewers overall. It ranked fourth or fifth for its 9 o’clock hour in key demographics, including 25-54 (3.1/7), and second in total viewers.

“City” retained just 68% of its solid 18-49 lead-in from “Navy NCIS” (3.1/8, 13.29 million viewers overall) in an hour where regular slot occupant “The Guardian” had averaged 90%.

Of course, “The Guardian” didn’t have to contend regularly with “American Idol,” which was extended to two hours Tuesday. But in a similar situation a year ago, “The Guardian” held on to 90% of its firstrun “JAG” lead-in.

“Century City,” which gets a special post-college basketball airing Saturday at 10, is scheduled to air on Tuesdays until “The Guardian” returns in a month.

As for “Idol,” the music talent show phenomenon racked up huge numbers for its two hours, including an 11.3/28 in adults 18-49 (up 13% vs. the same night a year ago), a 12.2/27 in adults 25-54 and a 10.2/30 in persons 12-34.

And in overall total viewers, its 26.72 million made it Fox’s largest ever Tuesday audience — including World Series telecasts.

Elsewhere, in its penultimate episode of the season, UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” tied with NBC’s comedies for third in 18-49 during the 9 o’clock hour (2.7/7) and placed second in 18-34 (3.5/10). Unfortunately for “Model,” which appeared poised to set some network records, its finale will oppose another two-hour episode of “Idol” next week.

In Tuesday’s 9 o’clock comedy battle, ABC’s “According to Jim” (3.4/8 in 18-49) easily disposed of NBC’s “Frasier” (2.6/6), as the Peacock vet fell to a firstrun series low less than two months from its finale.

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