What the doc ordered

'Idol' lead-in boosts ratings for Fox's 'House'

Auds were adding on to Fox’s “House” Tuesday, as the first-year medical series established ratings highs for a third straight week and stood as the night’s top-rated drama.

After performing modestly in the fall, “House” has rallied behind “American Idol” the past few weeks, riding strong word of mouth and substantial promotion during the Super Bowl to produce the best demo rating for a regularly skedded Fox drama in more than 20 months.

Also of note on the first Tuesday of the February sweep was a solid finish for the sixth edition of CBS’ “The Amazing Race” and the largest audience in more than two years for the WB’s “Gilmore Girls,” which celebrated its 100th episode.

According to Nielsen nationals for Tuesday, “House” (5.9 rating/14 share in adults 18-49, 14.97 million viewers overall) won across the board at 9 o’clock, growing 13% week-to-week in 18-49 and defeating the first hour of second-place “Amazing Race” by 18% in 18-49 (5.8 vs. 4.9).

“House” delivered the best 18-49 score for a Fox drama in its regular time period since the second-season finale of “24” in May 2003.

“American Idol” kicked off the night for Fox with more monster numbers (12.0/30 in 18-49, 28.77m), up both week-to-week and year-to-year despite facing all-firstrun competish on the broadcast nets. “Idol” is impressively outdrawing last year’s edition in total viewers at this point, and is down a smidge in adults 18-49.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the WB’s fifth-year drama “Gilmore Girls” (2.8/7 in 18-49, 6.33m) placed second to “Idol” in many categories at 8, drawing its largest overall aud since November 2002 and setting a series record in women 18-49 (4.2/10).

At CBS, “The Amazing Race 6” wrapped with its best numbers to date (5.2/13 in 18-49, 12.62m), although this was down from a bit from the finale of “Race 5” last September. The next edition of the cross-country adventure bows March 1.

Also in the 9 o’clock hour, the WB’s “One Tree Hill” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 4.47m) was again up double-digits over the same night a year ago, while UPN’s “Veronica Mars” drew its second-best ratings to date (1.3/3, 2.98m).

NBC was a weak fifth at 8 with “Most Outrageous Moments on Live TV” (1.8/4 in 18-49, 6.02m), hurting lead-out dramas “Scrubs” and “Committed,” which both placed fourth.

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