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‘Idol’ holding high note

ABC's finales can't stop Fox

Big finales from “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Desperate Housewives” bookended a solid week for ABC, but the net was still no match for Fox and its “American Idol” machine.

Fox notched its network-record 13th consecutive weekly victory in the key adults 18-49 demo behind two hours of “American Idol” and another big outing from “House” — tying the longest in-season winning streak for any net since NBC nine years ago.

Net also won in other key categories, such as adults 25-54 (4.8/12) and people 12-34 (4.2/14), but CBS remained on top for a 10th straight sesh in overall total viewers (12 million).

Fox is cruising to victory for the four-week May sweep, which wraps tonight. Through Monday, the net led in adults 18-49 with a 4.2 rating/12 share, followed by CBS (3.8/10), ABC (3.5/10) and NBC (3.2/9).

Tonight’s “American Idol” finale also could help Fox catch or overtake CBS for the 25-54 title, while CBS easily will win in total viewers.

As it has every week since its preem in January, “American Idol” claimed the top two spots in the series 18-49 rankings during the May 15-21 frame, with Tuesday’s performance hour (12.2/30 in 18-49, 28.33m) topping Wednesday’s expanded one-hour results show (10.7/25, 27.67m).

They were followed in 18-49 by the two-hour season wraps of ABC heavyweights “Desperate Housewives” (9.9/23, 24.23m) and “Grey’s Anatomy” (9.9/22, 22.50m), with the latter airing on Monday.

Thursday’s season finale of “CSI” on CBS (8.3/20 in 18-49) was the week’s most-watched scripted skein overall (25.4 million) and No. 2 scripted program in 25-54 (10.5/24).

NBC saw nice finishes to the season for vets “Law & Order” (4.5/12 in 18-49, 13.59m), which tied for the demo lead Wednesday with “CSI: NY,” and NBC’s “ER” (7.1/19, 16.56m), which led its hour Thursday.

Of note at the weblets was the series finale of the WB’s “Charmed” (2.0/5 in 18-49, 4.49m). Although not a significant jump vs. recent episodes, this matched the eighth-year skein’s best delivery since October 2004.

TNT rode NBA playoff action to another victory among ad-supported cable nets, with Wednesday’s Dallas-San Antonio matchup the highest-rated contest (2.4/7, 5.42m).

Nickelodeon enjoyed success Friday with a special “Fairy Idol” episode of “The Fairly OddParents,” which drew 5 million viewers (including 3 million kids 2-11). Net also was pleased that the spec generated 4.6 million streams on broadband video service TurboNick.

* * *

The action-packed finales of dramas “CSI: Miami” on CBS and “24” on Fox highlighted action on the last Monday of the season.

“CSI: Miami” was the highest-rated program (6.8/16 in 18-49, 19.66m), down a bit vs. last year’s finale. CBS also looked good in the 9 p.m. hour with the season finales of “Two and a Half Men” (5.1/12, 15.51m) and “Old Christine” (4.5/10 in 18-49, 13.06m), with “Men” up vs. last year’s finale.

At Fox, the two-hour conclusion to the fifth season of “24” averaged a hefty 5.5/14 in 18-49 and 13.75 million viewers overall, up slightly vs. last year. It led each half-hour in 18-49.

NBC started strong with “Deal or No Deal” (4.6/13 in 18-49, 14.21m) and then fell back some with “The Apprentice 5” (3.9/9, 9.96m) and “Medium” (3.8/9, 10.04m), although the latter was down 16% vs. last year.

ABC attracted nice numbers at 8 for the spec “Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball” (3.9/11 in 18-49, 11.59m), but spy drama “Alias” ended its five-season run with a whimper (2.7/6, 6.68m).

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