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‘Idol’ throttles combo competish

Simon & co. top Tues.; 'NYPD' back with season high

Fox’s “American Idol” remained Tuesday’s dominant show even as it moved out of the popular audition round, while NBC’s “Scrubs” and UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” also looked hot.

According to Nielsen, “American Idol” (11.1/28 in adults 18-49, 26.18 million viewers overall) rose 14% in 18-49 rating and 4 share points over its opening Tuesday perf last February. “Idol” topped its ABC-CBS-NBC competish combined in most demos.

Fox couldn’t take advantage of the huge lead-in the next hour, however, as “24” (4.3/10 in adults 18-49, 9.97m) settled for second place in 18-49 and was down about 30% from last year.

Still, Fox led the night in all key measures.

NBC ran second thanks in part to its “Thursday on Tuesday” comedy block from 8 to 10. A repeat “Friends” delivered a 3.7/10 in adults 18-49 from 8 to 8:44, followed by a 5.1/12 for “Will & Grace” from 8:44 to 9:25.

From 9:25 to 10, “Scrubs,” featuring the first of two guest appearances by Michael J. Fox, easily won the 9:30 half-hour in key demos with NBC’s best result in the slot since September (5.2/13 in 18-49, 11.04m). “Law & Order: SVU” (5.5/14 in adults 18-49, 12.89m) then prevailed at 10.

ABC welcomed the return of “NYPD Blue” after a 10-week absence, and the vet cop drama drew its largest audience of the season (11.11 million) and placed second in 18-49 to “SVU” (4.1/11).

CBS was paced by “Navy NCIS” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 13.18m), which was second for its 8 o’clock hour in men 25-54 and total viewers.

UPN’s “America’s Next Top Model” continues to shine at 9 (3.4/8 in 18-49), winning its hour in femmes 12-34 (6.3/17) and posting its best 18-34 score (4.2/11) and its largest overall aud (7.13m). It nearly quadrupled the net’s averages vs. the same slot a year ago.

Also in the 9 o’clock hour, the WB’s rookie drama “One Tree Hill” inched up to new highs in persons 12-34 (2.4/7) and women 18-34 (2.9/8).

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