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“American Idol” and the return of hit drama “House” powered Fox to a convincing primetime ratings victory Tuesday, with the net topping ABC, CBS and NBC combined for the night in key demos.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “American Idol” (12.9 rating/32 share in adults 18-49, 31.5 million viewers overall) easily bested the other five broadcast nets combined in the 8 o’clock hour, rising 17% above its average for the same night a year ago. And “House,” back with its first episode in three weeks, tied its series high in 18-49 (8.8/21) and drew its second largest overall aud to date (21.5 million).

CBS ran second, getting another good perf from rookie drama “The Unit” (4.5/11 in 18-49, 15.9 million viewers overall), which built nicely on its repeat lead-in from “NCIS” (3.0/7 in 18-49, 13.4 million viewers overall) and was up week to week. At 10, “Amazing Race 9” (3.7/10 in 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall) was down slightly week to week and continues to under-perform recent editions.

NBC saw “Scrubs” hit an 11-week high at 9 (3.5/8 in 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall), followed by a decent debut for comedy “Teachers” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall). “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” closed out the night a winner for the Peacock (5.3/14 in 18-49, 14.2 million viewers overall), earning its top score in seven weeks.

ABC was again a laggard on the night, with an hour of firstrun “Sons & Daughters” settling for a distant fourth-place 1.9/5 in 18-49 and 4.8 million viewers overall. Net ran third at 10 with “Boston Legal” (2.9/7 in 18-49, 9.6 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 10.8/26; CBS, 3.7/9; NBC, 3.5/9; ABC, 2.3/6; WB, 1.0/2; UPN, 0.8/2.

In total viewers: Fox, 26.5 million; CBS, 12.8 million; NBC, 8.4 million; ABC, 6.7 million; WB, 2.4 million; UPN, 1.9 million.